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Third Car Rule to Stay Next Season

Third cars look certain to remain in Formula One's Friday practice next season, after McLaren boss Ron Dennis confirmed today that there are currently no moves made to change the rules

McLaren have gained an advantage this season, just as BAR did in 2004 and Renault in 2003, from being able to run a third car during Friday practice. Only the top four teams in the previous year's Constructors' Championship are not eligible to run the extra cars.

But although leading teams like Williams and BAR could be eligible next season if they do not make progress in the title chase, there appears to be no move aimed at changing the regulations - even though the rule was originally brought in to help smaller teams by allowing them to save money by testing less outside Grand Prix weekends.

Speaking at Istanbul on Sunday, Dennis said: "At the moment, the Sporting Regulations are explicit that if you are not in the top four teams you are able to run a third car.

"There is no movement from that at the moment. And when the Championship is decided, whichever team is out of the top four will have that possibility. But there is no dialogue on change."

Dennis admitted that running their third car, which has been shared by test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz, has been of varying benefit during the year - although he said in Turkey, where Formula One is running for the first time, the advantage was significant.

"Primarily it reinforces your understanding and commitment to whatever tyre choice," Dennis explained. "It is an advantage, but that advantage is difficult to quantify.

"But on a new circuit, whatever the advantage is, it is magnified by two or three."

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