Like a dog with a bone, Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo can’t let go of the idea of F1 teams being allowed to run three cars. He’s been pushing this idea for several years. When Michael Schumacaher was still retired driver-in-residence for the team, he was vocal about utilizing Schumi as third driver. Now, however, di Montezemolo is suggesting that management of third cars should be farmed out to private teams.
Said the Ferrari boss, “On the question of a third car, we are determined. It would be nice to see a third Ferrari fielded perhaps by a private American team. I’m thinking of a team like Ganassi or Penske.” This is certainly a change from his previous position, and one suspects that the lack of competitiveness on the part of F1’s newest teams, HRT, Virgin and Lotus, has made the idea of quasi-customer cars more appealing.
“If a team does not have the money to be in Formula 1,” said di Montezemolo, “they can go to GP2. It is disheartening to see someone like [Jarno] Trulli many seconds behind. Think what Jarno could do with a Ferrari given to his team.”
Of course, this might be so much window dressing, as well. Depending on how the rules might be changed, one of the chief benefits of having a third car would be to deprive rival teams of points. For example, if three Ferraris shated the podium at a given venue, that would keep at least one rival driver off the points-paying pedestal.
Will the rule change ever come to pass? According to the Italian magazine Autosprint, the subject has been brought before the FIA. “The teams and the FIA are currently discussing the possibility [of allowing teams to run three cars] in three years,” said the publication. We shall see.