Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza, 2014

F1 teams “need six months’ notice” to add third car

2015 F1 season

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza, 2014McLaren team principal Eric Boullier believes there is not enough time for F1 teams to enter three cars for the first race of 2015.

While conceding that teams would have to add a third car if they needed to, Boullier said it would take six months to have all the logistics in place. With the 2015 F1 season due to begin on March 13th in Melbourne, that leaves them with too little time already.

“I think the driver is the easiest to get on board, you know?” said Boullier when asked about the time needed to arrange a third car for next year during a media phone-in.

“And the chassis and third car logistics and people around – we would need at least six months’ notice.”

Other team principals, such as Force India’s Vijay Mallya, have said the sport should distribute its revenues more fairly to aid the smaller teams to prevent three-car teams being necessary.

“He’s not in really favour of this and I can understand why,” said Boullier.

“I think it’s a debate which is in the wrong timing. We have to wait, obviously, [until] there is a need to run three cars and then we will see. So you can question many things about revenue, about whatever.

“I think at the end if one day we are called and asked to help F1 and run three cars we have to.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 66 comments on “F1 teams “need six months’ notice” to add third car”

    1. Is this serious! Are they going to give a green light to Bernie’s idea?

      1. @nidzovski.
        It is not so much Bernie’s idea or needing a green light, but part of the regulations. It says somewhere (probably Concord Agreement) that if the grid is less than 20 cars that participating teams will run a third car.

        Of course Bernie likes this and he seems to be doing everything possible to have some of the smaller teams leave F1 (by making sure they do not get enough money). This way he can call upon the bigger teams to provide a third car. It seems that he has started the ‘calling upon’ in Singapore.
        Even though it would be a lot simpler for him to make sure that the smaller teams can survive by sharing more of the goodies more fairly.

        1. @coldfly everything you’ve said is true. You know why I blame him? Because he is interested only in making money no matter what. He first attracted the new teams with that awful budget cup plan, with his friend Mosley that is, and than… we know what happened. One man can`t be worth more than half of F1 teams. Just saying..

          1. @nidzovski +1, fully agree!

          2. Unfortunately Bernie doesn’t own the sport, CPC does. They employ Bernie with the precise aim of generating revenue from the sport which he does a good job of creating.

            What we need is a new owner to take the sport over to run it like a sport with a slower long term aim (or the willing to take less profit) to increase its popularity and generate more revenue that way rather than squeezing it for every penny.

            (The rumour is the number is more like 16 cars to invoke 3rd cars as we’ve had 18 car grids in the past – also those car’s wouldn’t be eligible for points).

    2. 3 car teams is not a good idea for long-term health of F1 maybe in a crisis situation its fine but it shouldnt be a longer term plan

      1. The Blade Runner (@)
        25th September 2014, 17:08

        I think if the 3rd driver had to be a rookie, therefore meaning that all teams with 3 drivers had to bring a new driver in every year, then there would be at least one positive i.e. new talent getting an opportunity

        1. @thebladerunner I’m all for bringing new talent in the sport but I want it to be because teams have chosen to do it, not because they’ve been forced to by yet another act of FIA regulatory over-reaching.

          Yes there are talented drivers being left on the sidelines but this is because there are too few vacancies in F1 to begin with. This is because FOM’s remuneration for the smallest teams is so low that we haven’t had a full grid of cars for almost 20 years, and those at the back of the grid are forced to take pay drivers instead of the rivals who beat them in the junior categories.

          1. The Blade Runner (@)
            25th September 2014, 18:48


            I agree. What I was saying is that if 3 cars is introduced anyway, at least attach a rule which potentially brings some positives.

            1. @thebladerunner It’s not a question of it being “introduced”, it’s what would happen if the number of teams in the sport fell from its current eleven to nine or fewer. I wouldn’t want to see that happen for several reasons, beginning with the fact I’d hate to see any of the teams go out of business when it’s entirely avoidable.

            2. @keithcollantine Go out of business for no reason other than the fact it makes things more profitable for Ecclestone and his partners. Hundreds of people made jobless so that a billionaire can get even richer.

            3. It’s doubtful that the remaining poorer teams would take on title-winning youngsters with no cash such as Frijns. It’s more likely to be the pay drivers of GP2 that they would have to employ if they had to run a rookie.

          2. @keithcollantine

            Why did F1F stop running the opinion polling for approval ratings on Todt/FIA? I seem to remember it happening a few years back. Would’ve been good data to track over the past few years with DRS, exploding tyres, double points, radio ban & now third cars.

            Be good to bring a monthly poll back?

      2. Like DRS then ;)

      3. Customer cars don’t sound too bad now do they.

      4. I wonder if it would be possible to bring in a 3rd car as a “privateer” sponsored by the actual team– so for instance, there might be two “MercedesAMG Petronas” W06 cars, but there could be a third W06 that might be the “Virgin MercedesAMG” and heavily financed by Richard Branson (for example).

        There are a number of entities out there that would like to get the benefits of advertising in F1, without the full-on expense of an entire F1 team.

        I also haven’t seen what the regulations say about this for the constructor’s championship– If one team is allowed to get all the points from 3 chassis, that’s pretty unfair to the teams that only have 2 chassis running.

        1. In other words, customer cars.

    3. Formula Indonesia (@)
      25th September 2014, 15:59

      f1 future will be in danger of they used 3 car teams

    4. Its Getting Joke and showing what is happening time and time again
      Not fixing what is really needed to instead want to screw some thing which doesn’t needed to
      I proudly said i was an f1 fan until 5 or 6 years ago but since the 2014 i wasn’t and that surely not due to racing but due to external factors Bernie and his Friends thinking them selves as fans of F1.

    5. I think this is Bernie’s way of shutting up the smaller teams who are daring to suggest that they should have a fairer share of the revenues.

      “You want more money? Ferrari and Red Bull will replace your cars for half the price. I’ll just give them a call.”

      1. That’s the way I see it too. Bernie’s being very disrespectful of the small teams by even discussing three car teams in the event of them not making the 2015 grid.

        Instead of trying to put in place plans to help them, he’s effectively dismissing them as a lost cause and drawing up his back-up plan.

    6. i have an idea, how about 4 car teams, 2 seater cars or hydrogen powered green credential wooden cars?
      What on earth has happened to F1
      This is what F1 used to look and sound like kids, AND they were about 5 seconds PER LAP, faster too!!!!!!!!!

      1. Much better sound. Much better look. Much more exciting to watch – even if its just one car.

        Modern F1 wants passing and the like, but its artificial, ugly, and slow. Newcomers, especially the young, are looking for “rocket ships on land.” What we have now are “electric turtles on street circuits.”

        I’m with you. F1 sucks unless you’re a huge Hammy fan, which I’m not.

        1. hello kitty appreciates your support…
          and before i forget, with regards to DRS, I think the great philosopher Juan Pablo Montoya said it best recently when he said “DRS is like giving Picasso photoshop”

          1. Which shows what Juan Pablo Montoya knows about painting and photography. Picasso would have preferred Illustrator to Photoshop.

            Ansel Adams, on the other hand, would have leaped onto Photoshop like a drowning man leaps onto a lifeboat. He spent hundreds of hours in the darkroom, carefully retouching his photographs.

            “Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.” — Ansel Adams

      2. Just beautiful! Loved those F1 moments…

      3. Amazing! Beautiful sound cars were beautiful and I AM the so called “playstation Generation”.

      4. Now THAT is what I call an F1 car!

    7. Never been much of a fan of the idea, but I have to say I don’t see the problem anymore.

      I’m not buying the “slippery slope” argument. It’s not like because we let gays get married that people will automatically want to marry their dog. Oh wait that’s something else. I meant, there is no reason why this has to evolve into 4 car teams.

      The lower teams are just not catching up. It’s almost embarrassing having them around. So either fix the ridiculously asymmetrical budgets or just stop letting privateers into F1.

      Personally i would rather have a budget cap so all teams are more equal. It would put a serious dent in dominations like Ferrari had and lately Red Bull.

      Of course clever inventions like the double diffuser or Mercedes’s clever turbo can still produce a dominating car for a season, but those are just incidents. Teams with 50% more budget (or more) than the rest dominating the field as we have seen several times over the last few decades would be suppressed. It would also allow the smaller teams to sort of compete for points.

      Anyway, since all that is not happening, I’d rather see more of the expensive cars than some struggling backmarkers being lapped twice every race.

    8. And when we’re down to 8 teams of 3, or 3 teams of 8, will there still be at least one team that’s excluded from the Strategy Group, so they can be kicked around?

    9. What a joke.
      The prize should be distributed in a bette way.
      What a bunch of leeches!

      1. Yes it should. Unfortunately this is F1 so it won’t happen.
        I remember having some discussions couple of seasons ago about possibility of teams leaving and creating their own series. I must say that at the time I was actually looking forward to it.
        I’d love to see the same teams but in a better series with simpler and fair rules. The business model of current F1 is just sick.
        I wonder if the teams could actually give it a go with the older cars (lets say 2yr old cars) and let the new talent race it out. Maybe that would put some more pressure on BE to do the things right (preferably… just leave).
        I know, I know, wishful thinking :)

    10. If feel like there has been a lot of change for the sake of change in the last few years, but I actually don’t dislike this idea. In most seasons there are 1 or 2 dominate teams. That would up the number of likely race winners from 2 or 4 to 3 or 6. It might also encourage the big teams to take a flyer on a young driver since they can balance youth and inconsistency against the other two. Penske ran this sort of arrangement with Unser Jr./Emmo/Paul Tracy in the 90’s. At that time Tracy was young. He may not have been as employable in a [top] two car team, and as Ricciardo has shown us, it’s difficult to evaluate talent in poor machinery.

      1. So instead of a 1-2 podium with some other team in the running, you would prefer a Mercedes lockout of the podium?

    11. Wouldn’t it hurt the big companies quite a lot to run 3 cars? more costs in logistics, more mechanics each race, a lot more work to do for each member in the pitwall, a lot more resources needed to run 3 cars…

      I just don’t see it going well, even for the guys that can actually do it.

    12. Claire Williams said and repeated: “This.Is.Not.In.The.DNA.Of.Our.Sport.”

    13. Would each team then need two pit crews? I can just see all three cars stacking during a safety car.

      I can also see the instance of ugly team order situations increasing if you had a true #3 driver on a team.

      There would be many details to work out.

      1. yeah team orders.
        Vettel had already difficulty understanding ‘multi 21’, imagine ‘multi 14.22.20’.

      2. How about pitting in a tight pit lane like Monaco? Would the vacated pits from the dead teams be shared out? It all seems a bit half-baked and last-second desperation move… so nothing new, then! (From the genius who brought you Abu Double, sprinklers on track, a medal system, etc!) retire or die, Bernie please!

    14. I think its quite a fact that CVC doesn’t want Mr. E in control and hoped he would fall with the trial and let’s face it Bernie ist the only one who can control the commercial side of F1 and my theory is that at the end he presents the teams a fair and transparent way of distributing the money. So he can show everyone that he is quite irreplaceable and stays in control whether CVC likes it or not.

      What are your opinions?

    15. No, F1 teams need for this to be 1967. This is painful decision making.

    16. With all due respect to Claire Williams, three car teams have existed in F1 in the past. It’s not unprecedented and the “DNA” of F1 is not exclusively rooted in the idea of 2 cars teams. The DNA of F1 is about the pursuit of speed and change is a big part of that pursuit.

    17. An interesting read – in a nutshell : if less than 20 cars are fielded, FOM (Bernie & CVC) lose control of Formula 1, and Ferrari could/would lose their sweetener payment that they get .

      The regulations require teams which are able to field a third car to bolster the grid so it doesn’t go below 20 cars.

      1. If true, Chris, I’d almost be happy to see two teams go away just so Bernie gets the boot. It would have to happen this year though as Haas and potentially other teams may enter in 2016.

      2. If it’s true, then Let’s hope Caterham, Marussia and Sauber bite the big one and big teams say no to 3rd cars then, as much as I hate to see these teams die, at least CVC / Bernie would go too!

    18. I would rather see 3 cars in some of the bigger teams than the current back markers.

    19. I don’t have a problem with 3 cars as long as there’s 10 teams.

    20. Ferrari is already a mid field car now and if this happens.. they will fail to make the cut into top 10. What an irony. How will you define a back marker team.

      1. @muralibhats The way we did in 2009 (the year STR placed last in the WCC)?

    21. Three car teams would significantly change race strategies. Having one pit crew for three cars changes the tire strategies, since you would have to spread the three stops over a minimum of three laps. One car in a team would always have tires at least three laps newer than another car in the team.

      Also, imagine how different the race strategies would be if one team’s driver was in contention for the WDC. It has always bothered me that in theory, Toro Rosso could assist Red Bull’s strategy at any time with intra-team orders. Conspiracy theorists would say that Toro Rosso helped Vettel win the 2012 title in Brazil by moving over him when he climbed through the field from the back rather than race him. I don’t necessarily agree (I think Schumacher helped Vettel more than Toro Rosso did), but imagine how much more complicated strategies would be when fielding three drivers per team! You could have one driver on a team racing to win the WDC, another to simply help win the WCC, and a third could be assisting either. It would also be immensely boring if one team is dominating to see the entire podium taken up by one team. With Mercedes dominating the way they are this year, I can at least get excited to see who takes third in each race this year. With three car teams, that would be taken away.

      Keep it to two car teams. Prize money should be distributed more evenly, and Ferrari shouldn’t get their guaranteed bonus, or whatever it is they get. Perhaps now that Luca is gone Ferrari would be more amenable to a more equal distribution between the teams.

      1. I think they would have to close the pit lane during a Safety Car. Imagine a team stacking 3 cars, it would get very crowded.

        The safety net with team orders might turn out to be the drivers themselves. None of them want to roll over for a teammate, even young rookie pay drivers.

    22. I think 3 car teams are a bad idea for F1 for a few reasons.

      * If you have a season like this with a dominant car we could see 1 team lock out the podium & the constructors championship be locked up earlier.
      * It pushes the mid-field teams further back, Reduces the chance of them scoring points & puts them in further financial difficulties.
      * If you say the 3rd car is ineligible for points, You could have the 3rd cars used for strategic reasons to block rival teams for championship reasons.
      * Could also cause problems in the pits as 3 cars for 1 pit box is going to be a real traffic jam during safety car periods where everyone pits.
      * It puts a bigger financial strain on the teams as they woudl need to bring more equipment to races, More staff, buy/use more components/tyres through a season & remember that its not just the bottom 3-4 teams who are marginal on finances as it is.
      * It also puts off new teams joining, We have Haas F1 coming for 2016. With 3 car teams where would they fit in?

      Like many other things the past few years, There just trying to stick a plaster over something without doing anything about the actual underlying problem.

      What they should be doing is cutting costs & distributing the prize money in a fairer way so that every team gets a decent amount. The way its done at present is fundamentally broken & is a big part of why many teams are in the situation there in financially.

    23. “I think it’s a debate which is in the wrong timing. We have to wait, obviously, [until] there is a need to run three cars and then we will see. So you can question many things about revenue, about whatever.

      Really, Eric? Just like we need to talk about safety until there is a need, right? Or to talk about global warming after the North Pole is gone? Talk about human trafficking when Taken becomes a documentary? Talk about replacing Jenson Button when he’s 73?

      I’m sorry, Eric, but ever since you joined McLaren, you’ve been spouting utter nonsense. I can’t believe he seemed likable at Lotus..

    24. They just need to distribute the wealth more fairly, but clearly there’s more to this thanks to pay-your-way-out-of-jail Bernie and a spineless FiA. Shame, 2014 is great (double points aside) but still the mess continues due to the dinosaurs in control.

      If only Ari Vatanen was president, but the world just doesn’t work like that sadly.

      1. You don’t hear it said very often but Ari Vatanen does actually have a role in the FIA as President of the Commission.

        Its also not totally fair to blame the FIA who have no control or power over the distribution of funds as thats purely as issue for the promoter & commercial rights holder. The FIA only have power with regards to the sporting/technical regulations.

        Jean Todt could believe that the prize money should be distributed more fairly, He could believe that ticket prices should be lower & all that yet be able to do nothing about it even if he wanted to.

        1. Roger, the FIA

          have no power or control over the distribution of funds

          because the FIA president Bernie installed in the position, Max Mosely, returned the favour by selling Bernie the rights to the TV income for 100 years for $300m. those rights are the basis for Bernies billions and the current valuation of around $10Billion.


      2. @john-h The FIA is an organisation for whom the president is basically a figurehead. He may have a role in shaping policy, but he doesn’t dictate it. Everything is voted upon, by the same people who voted for Todt in the first place. Like it or not, if Vatanen couldn’t get enough votes to become president thanks to his ideas, then clearly there is no will to turn towards hs way of thinking within the FIA. Not to mention the fact that history is littered with people who have utterly failed to deliver on pretty much any of their pre-election ambitions. You can’t change the FIA by changing one man, even if that man is the president.

    25. I have an idea on 3car teams or the need for just 1 or 2 teams to run a third car to bolster the grid if the situation called for it. The teams must nominate their 2 main race drivers then any 3rd driver has to start near the back, say 3 teams ran a 3rd car then those 3 cars would start 18th, 19th and 20th and the driver must have had less than 5 grand prix starts. This way they are less likely to steal places and points from the upper midfield who are still only running 2 cars. Because if the 3rd car finished 3rd place say (1,2,3 for team) the 3rd car scores no points but it does stop anyone else getting the points for 3rd place, or anywhere it finishes in the top ten. So if the driver’s are rookies and they start at theback then their is less chance of them getting in the top ten so the mid teams are happy and the driver’s still get aa good experience because they will be in good cars at the back so will do some overtaking and learn race craft without wiping out the pole sitter on an excited lunge for glory (GP2 style) the teams may even give the rookies a slightly reduced engine mode too do they don’t burn up the PU too much but get the F1 experience.
      This way everyone is happy, midfield teams can still score points, the grid is full and rookies get an opportunity to run 5 grand prix so teams can evaluate their performances. Win, win, win!

      1. Please note the positions 18th 29th and 20th are based on the regulations that state the grid must be a minimum of 20cars, they could even have their own 8min qually session to decide the order.

    26. I think more team is better.

      1. I think we need an extinction event for new battle lines to drawn up. Until then I fear it is a stalemate on all sides.

    27. Quite obviously the 20 car rule is about contractual agreements with TV broadcasters, I would prefer it if we could return more more revenue to the teams but if we can’t a couple of ideas,
      1. encourage Toro Rosso like “B” teams with the supply of the “A” teams tub to cut costs. eg. Scuderia Fiat/Maserati/Alfa Romeo/Chrysler or team Smart.

      2. take a lesson from history and invite top GP2 teams to compete in F1 for a fixed period with the opportunity to become full F1 teams at periods end if no new teams have filled the grid.

    28. Good for bigger teams, bad for midfield and smaller teams, it will be tuff for.midfield team to score any points, good for drivers in bigger teams, some present midfield drivers might get chance to drive better cars,, I would like to see a limited budget rule set for all the team’s, that would make race more interesting, it would be fun to see racing and a new winner and a new team , every race, fia is trying to make it more and more tuffer for a midfield and slower teams who are struggling to survive in the sports

    29. 3 car teams = more closely match equipment and less back markers, I’m all for it.
      Think about all the boring years of F1, the common factor is 1 dominant team with a cleary better driver. 3 car teams would significantly spice things up. The Schumacher and Vettel years, at least they had to beat 2 team mates to win the championship. Also with 3 cars locking up the constructors championship early, team order would happen less if a team’s car is good.
      All these pity about smaller teams, let’s be real, F1 is an absurdly expensive sport, go race karts if your team can not cover the economics. Personally I never enjoyed watching smaller teams running 20th or 16th in F1 and would gladly trade them for better competition at the front.
      Any 3 out of Alonso Hamilton Rosberg Vettel Richiardo Bottas Button in one team is guaranteed a good F1 season.

    30. I think the big teams could easily get a car ready between now and march 13th (including McLaren). thats not the problem. the problem is that this speculation makes it even harder for the small teams to raise enough money (if it wasn’t had enough already). Who will invest money in caterham/marussia/sauber when Bernie and the media are already speculating that these teams might not be on the grid next year?

    31. Presumably, the 3rd car in 2 teams would have to share a pit garage — I can’t see that going over very well even if you ignore the possibility of both teams calling for their driver to pit on the same lap.

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