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Old 15 May 2021, 09:55 (Ref:4051760)   #1
BTCC frog
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Hypothetical three-car teams

Just for fun, imagine that, on the eve of the Australian GP that never was in 2020, Formula 1 announced a new rule would be added for 2021 that teams would be required to run three cars, and that the smaller teams would be given financial aid to allow them to compete. What would this year's grid look like? Here is my guess:

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton
Valtteri Bottas
George Russell
I think this one is fairly obvious.

Red Bull
Max Verstappen
Alexander Albon
Nico Hulkenberg
Red Bull wanted someone who would be close enough to Verstappen to give them different options on strategy to replace Albon, but with three car teams I suspect Albon would have stayed on. But Perez would be unavailable as he would still be contracted to Racing Point, and Hulkenberg would probably have been their second choice.

Ferrari
Charles Leclerc
Carlos Sainz
Daniel Ricciardo
I think that the replacing of Vettel with Sainz was more down to Ferrari wanting Vettel out than Sainz in, so I am going to say that Vettel would have been sacked anyway. The real scenario was that Sainz went to Ferrari and McLaren took Ricciardo, but as Ferrari looked a more attractive prospect at the time, I think they would have poached both Sainz and Ricciardo.

Aston Martin
Sergio Perez
Lance Stroll
Sebastian Vettel
With three-car teams, Aston Martin would have been able to get Vettel without sacking Perez, and I think that is what would have happened. It's strange but being sacked was possibly the best thing that could have happened to Perez.

McLaren
Lando Norris
Romain Grosjean
Sergio Sette-Camara
I was a bit stuck on this one. With Sainz and Ricciardo unavailable, I think McLaren would have struggled to find two drivers as the rest of the grid filled up, and Grosjean's ability to develop a car means he wouldn't be too bad a signing. For the third car, I think it would be a rookie, and as Sette-Camara had only just been released from the young driver programme, they might have been tempted to get him back. Nyck De Vries would be another option but he had been gone for a year by this point.

Alpine
Fernando Alonso
Esteban Ocon
Guan Yu Zhou
Renault said they wanted Zhou in the car at some point, and if he was an extra driver, I think he would be given the third car.

Alpha Tauri
Pierre Gasly
Daniil Kvyat
Yuki Tsunoda
Really, Kvyat should have been gone long ago, but his 2020 season was actually pretty decent, and with no other Red Bull juniors ready to step up, I think he would have got an extra season.

Alfa Romeo
Kimi Raikkonen
Antonio Giovinazzi
Callum Ilott
It makes sense as Ilott has driven for Alfa Romeo in practice this year, and Ferrari wanted him in Formula 1.

Haas
Kevin Magnussen
Mick Schumacher
Nikita Mazepin
It would be extremely beneficial for Haas to keep an experienced driver in 2021, and Magnussen seemed more likely to stay than Grosjean. Mazepin's money is probably enough for Haas.

Williams
Nicholas Latifi
Jack Aitken
???
Latifi brings money to the team, and Aitken looked a good driver when he replaced Russell in Sakhir. But I have no idea who the third driver would be. Maybe they would need another pay driver, or maybe they would take a junior driver from a big team, or maybe they would want to bring back an experienced driver. I'm not sure on this one.

Anybody have any different ideas about what the grid might look like?
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Old 15 May 2021, 10:11 (Ref:4051761)   #2
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Personally I’d much rather see more teams in F1. That would give more drivers a chance in F1.

It is hard though to argue with your choices of drivers in three car teams there. As for Williams, why not someone like Nick de Vries? He’s proven his talent in junior formula and is the reserve driver at Merc, so he could fit in there
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Old 15 May 2021, 19:08 (Ref:4051829)   #3
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Grosjean at McLaren? That's a bit of an eye-opener........
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Old 15 May 2021, 19:45 (Ref:4051840)   #4
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Good point. Keep Danny at Macca and put Wehrlein in the third Ferrari
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Old 15 May 2021, 23:18 (Ref:4051851)   #5
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How about a rule that manufacturer teams must fund a third car for all customer teams? That way the customer teams can get more development, manufacturer teams have a another seat or three for young talent, and they don't have to cover costs for 3 cars in a top team? And manufacturers without a customer (alpine) have to run 3 cars.

So mercedes, ferrari and red bull still only have 2 cars, but alpha tauri, Williams, mclaren, alpha romeo, haas and racing point all have 3 cars. And since funding comes from the manufacturers, it isnt an added burden on the smaller teams. If a manufacturer wants to bring in a pay driver for that third car for a customer, that's on them, but at least the smaller teams aren't out looking for more pay drivers to cover a third seat.

Then some of your movements like perez staying at racing point still work, but maybe not, as Mercedes may want to put someone besides vettel in that seat.

I think trying to force the smaller teams to add a third car on their own would just end up with haas and maybe another dropping out? Maybe this would add development to the smaller teams compared to the manufacturers and create a little more parity.
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Old 16 May 2021, 09:05 (Ref:4051865)   #6
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How about a rule that manufacturer teams must fund a third car for all customer teams?
Given the current situation, this is an interesting idea that could certainly work and bring a larger, exciting grid. However, as a previous poster mentioned, I'd rather just see more teams on the grid. Forgive my ignorance but what is the main factor behind the grid being stuck at 10 teams for years now? (Even in the 2010-2012ish period when three new teams entered F1 [HRT, Marussia, Catherham] they were outclassed and often considered 'B Teams'). Is it entirely down to running costs for a year and something that could be sorted out with a restructuring of the sport's financial entry criteria? I'm not really interested in levelling out the playing field for the sake of taking performance merit away from other teams but you'd wonder if the days of the thoroughbred privateer are long gone and the manufacturer-run/billionaire businessman-run teams are all we can expect for the foreseeable.

Excuse me if this is a little off-topic and a hijack. A simple contribution to this would satisfy my curiosity ;-)
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Old 16 May 2021, 14:28 (Ref:4051915)   #7
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The reason in my view for the team numbers as they now stand is greed. If the teams were to increase then the distribution of money might be less and they don't want that. The entry fee of 200 million is to artificially make any team worth at least that figure if someone wants to enter F1. Spend 200 million to enter and then have to fund the building of a team or buy an existing team and the price starts at 200 million. It put a floor under the teams and gave them a value so making them a more viable investment.
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Old 16 May 2021, 14:37 (Ref:4051917)   #8
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Which, oddly, is a way to make it sustainable for these teams that have to spend a lot of money to compete. If they didn’t then it is likely we’d have more teams go under.

Greed maybe, necessity also.
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Old 16 May 2021, 16:58 (Ref:4051939)   #9
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Originally Posted by S griffin View Post
Personally I’d much rather see more teams in F1. That would give more drivers a chance in F1.

It is hard though to argue with your choices of drivers in three car teams there. As for Williams, why not someone like Nick de Vries? He’s proven his talent in junior formula and is the reserve driver at Merc, so he could fit in there
Nyck De Vries is a good shout for Williams. I’ll have him as the third driver.
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Old 16 May 2021, 17:00 (Ref:4051941)   #10
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Grosjean at McLaren? That's a bit of an eye-opener........
I do actually think that would happen. I think Ricciardo would go to Ferrari as it seemed a better drive at the time, and McLaren would be left with no better options than Grosjean. Although I believe Grosjean is much more highly rated in the paddock than he is by the fans, and rightly so.
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Old 16 May 2021, 20:25 (Ref:4051972)   #11
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If mclaren were to run a third car, they could give pato o'ward a shot.
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Old 17 May 2021, 09:05 (Ref:4052024)   #12
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I reckon AlphaTauri would have plumped for Albon this year instead of Kvyat.
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Old 18 May 2021, 13:45 (Ref:4052172)   #13
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I do actually think that would happen. I think Ricciardo would go to Ferrari as it seemed a better drive at the time, and McLaren would be left with no better options than Grosjean. Although I believe Grosjean is much more highly rated in the paddock than he is by the fans, and rightly so.
Ferrari would surely just add either Schumacher, Gio or Illott into the 3rd car?

I can really only imagine a scenario where the teams would run a 3rd car for a one of their academy drivers?

I reckon Ricciardo would prefer to be a 1 or 2 in McLaren than a 3 in Ferrari.

Also i'm sure someone like Bottas would welcome a 3rd driver at Merc as the excessive heat would be off him as 'no.3' debates grow!
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Old 19 May 2021, 01:02 (Ref:4052217)   #14
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Ferrari would surely just add either Schumacher, Gio or Illott into the 3rd car?

I can really only imagine a scenario where the teams would run a 3rd car for a one of their academy drivers?

I reckon Ricciardo would prefer to be a 1 or 2 in McLaren than a 3 in Ferrari.

Also i'm sure someone like Bottas would welcome a 3rd driver at Merc as the excessive heat would be off him as 'no.3' debates grow!
If Russell and Hamilton are in Mercedes, then Bottas is right in the middle of the number three debate.
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Old 20 May 2021, 05:58 (Ref:4052337)   #15
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If Russell and Hamilton are in Mercedes, then Bottas is right in the middle of the number three debate.
Very true!
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