Mercedes 'excited' by prospect of three-car Formula 1 teams

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff likes the idea of introducing third cars but would prefer it to boost rather than maintain the size of the Formula 1 grid

Mercedes 'excited' by prospect of three-car Formula 1 teams

Dietrich Mateschitz is considering pulling Red Bull and Toro Rosso out of F1 as the two outfits battle to agree an engine supply for 2016 after cutting ties with Renault.

Ferrari appears to be Red Bull's only option to continue in F1 next season as Mercedes has decided against offering it power.

Should Red Bull and Toro Rosso leave the championship, the field would drop to 18 in 2016 with Haas joining next term.

Wolff said third cars, with younger drivers, would be the solution to ensure the grid was full but hopes F1 will not lose any teams.

"If a team would leave, and we've had the discussion about Lotus a while ago, then third cars are the solution to fill up the grid," said Wolff.

"For me personally it is a pretty exciting idea.

"I'd rather have Red Bull in the sport and third cars and a grid of 27-28 cars, and some exciting young drivers in those third cars.

"But this is definitely one of the fallback solutions. Priority number one is to keep them in the sport."

Wolff said that while he sympathised with Red Bull's engine predicament, Mercedes' own performance has to be its priority.

"You can't close your eyes to the fact that this is a platform, and it needs players and it needs a competitive environment," he said.

"It needs competitive teams, and that was part of our consideration.

"Red Bull is a hip brand and it is good for Formula 1.

"But then it is also an environment when you need to look at yourself and the team's performance with a priority.

"So when it comes to the decision you can go with the platform of a good sport, or from your team's perspective.

"From our point of view it is clear you need to prioritise your own competitiveness."

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