Sunday, 16 september 2018, 06:26 , by Matthew Scott
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has issued refreshed calls for teams to be allowed to run a third car in order to provide a platform for younger drivers in Formula 1. Wolff says the proposal is to be discussed at a Strategy Group meeting next week, although he doubts it will be viewed favourably as it has come from the Silver Arrows.
Esteban Ocon's plight, which is likely to leave him without an F1 drive in 2019, has irked Wolff and the Austrian said other teams did not "have the balls" to stick to agreements with the Frenchman – a member of Mercedes' junior driver program.
Mercedes released Pascal Wehrlein from their academy this week – potentially opening up a move to Toro Rosso – while Formula 2 leader George Russell's only realistic 2019 option is Williams.
Wolff has proposed that allowing bigger teams to run extra cars would solve his problem, although Ferrari's recent promotion of Charles Leclerc and Red Bull's utilisation of Toro Rosso means he is likely to have little backing.
"I like the idea because the more cars we have in the field, and the more opportunity we give to young exciting drivers to fight in a competitive car against experienced drivers, it would create great stories," said Wolff.
"But we've had quite some push back for the idea, for reasons that I respect.
"That would mean there are three Mercedes and three Ferraris and three Red Bulls, and I respect that, if I would be involved in a smaller team, that would be an argument.
"Then the costs need to be looked at, whether it would be commercially viable to run a third car and have young drivers in that.
"I would just really enjoy it, have a third Mercedes and put Pascal in there or George or Esteban, and just see what they are able to do.
"I think we're going to discuss it next Wednesday again. I'm not the flavour of the month in F1 at the moment, so the ideas I bring up somehow end up in the bin.
"Better I'm not saying anything then someone else brings it up as the next great idea."