Whitmarsh: Big teams would welcome 3rd car, name drivers

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The third car idea is popping up again, this time courtesy of Martin Whitmarsh.

In a Q and A run by Vodaphone, Whitmarsh suggests that adding a third car would open the Formula 1 doors to other big racing names. Ones he mention include Sebastien Loeb, Valentino Rossi and Jimmy Johnson. But, Whitmarsh adds, it probably wouldn’t be fair to smaller teams and couldn’t happen very well with more than 10 teams on the grid.

Here’s more:

Q: Are third cars still a possibility?
MW: Undoubtedly in my mind, although I’m a little partisan, Formula One is the pinnacle of motor racing – technologically and in terms of the quality of the field, teams and drivers. I think, apart from the greats we already have in our sport, it would be fantastic to have (World Rally champion) Sebastien Loeb, (Moto GP legend) Valentino Rossi, (NASCAR champion) Jimmy Johnson, or whoever participating in Formula One. I think it would be natural for them to consider the opportunity and I think it would be fantastic for Formula One. I’ve no doubt that all of those guys have incredible talent and if they put their mind to it, and gave themselves enough focus and time, that they would be very competitive F1 drivers.

Q: Is it still on the table then?
MW: It hasn’t been recently. It’s really an idea if you get a reduced number of teams. We are working hard to find ways to encourage all of the teams to develop and flourish. If you introduce a third car -McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes would all probably be happy to have a third car – but I think in fairness to the smaller teams it would only disadvantage them further. So in the event that the number of teams drops below 10 – and at the moment we’re hoping it is 13 next year – it would be a fantastic opportunity.

It still seems to me like the easy answer is the one Red Bull has. Have a junior team. I know it isn’t quite as simple as that, but if Red Bull can pull it off then surely the McLarens, Ferraris and Mercedes of the world could, too. And I’d think the cache of being at even a Ferrrari “B” team might be enough to draw a Rossi or Johnson into the series.

Perhaps I’m missing something, though.

There are plenty of other issues with the third car idea, too. The biggest: What does it to do the constructors championship?

I also am not sure I like the fact that adding third cars would limit the “companies” involved in Formula 1. Honestly, I’d rather have Audi or Porsche jump into the game, maybe even a Lamborghini, than have a third Ferrari car. I think more battles between different groups/constructors/manufacturers would make the series more interesting.

I know it will never happen, for instance, but a Ford or GM-backed team — perhaps the truest U.S. F1 team possible — would interest me much more than a U.S.-based team that runs a Dallara chassis and Mercedes lump.

And then we could start talking about going back to the old country racing colors.

But, back to the topic. Reactions to a third car idea?

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