Fittipaldi in favor of new F1 rules and the prospect of three-car teams

Emerson Fittipaldi has never been a stranger to the racing world. The two-time Formula One World Champion and two-time Indy 500 winner has a different view these days as President of the FIA drivers’ commission. Although it has been over 30 years since the Brazilian has graced the cockpit of a Formula One machine, the growth of the sport has never been closer for the 67-year-old.

F1 with a twist

In recent weeks, Fittipaldi has now been named as part of a panel to help investigate the horrendous crash at Suzuka involving Marussia F1 Team driver Jules Bianchi. That is just one of the many events going on in F1 this season. The new car has brought on new and different challenges, from a new V6 1.6-liter turbo power plant to a brake-by-wire system, it has been a season to reward those who have figured it out the quickest.

With a new venue in Sochi, a long-awaited to Mexico in 2015, and many other tracks rumored to be in the fold to be on the Formula One schedule in the coming years, the sport is very close to possibly having 24-28 races in seasons to come. However, the biggest talking point has been if there will be three car teams next season. Now with backmarkers Caterham and Marussia missing the U.S. Grand Prix and the Brazilian Grand Prix, F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone has more reason to give a third car to teams like Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari, and Red Bull. Others, such as Sauber and Lotus, could find themselves in trouble if the change happens. For Marussia and Caterham, they are already facing some dire times.

The future of the F1 grid

The possibility of three cars is exciting and scary at the same time for many F1 fans. Ferrari has been clamoring to have three cars for many years now, and if Suzuka never happened it would likely have been Bianchi behind the wheel for the Maranello-based team. Many could argue that Red Bull Racing has four teams already with Toro Rosso developing its drivers, but for McLaren, it means bringing on a potential Fernando Alonso, keeping long-time driver Jenson Button, and holding onto a constantly developing talent in Kevin Magnussen. If these rules were in place entering this season, there would likely be a third combatant alongside Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

It was the history of grand prix racing for a long time. I don’t see a problem with it.

– Emerson Fittipaldi regarding three-car teams

The biggest thing that could happen … Imagine if three teams were the maximum allowed. This could entertain the idea of single car teams, which also means a possibility of outfits like Marussia and Sauber surviving. Lastly, Formula One could see an enormous rise in buyers if a customer car market is something they would approve.

Emmo’s take on F1’s ever-changing landscape

Fittipaldi talked briefly about the season and the direction he thinks F1 could soon be going.

On three car teams, “I think there’s a chance for the major teams to run three cars. It was the history of grand prix racing for a long time. I don’t see a problem with it. It would make more excitement with three cars on a team.”

On exploring F1 as an owner if they revert to customer cars, “Well it’s difficult to know for the future if that’s going to happen. We don’t know yet. There are a lot of stipulations, we shall see. Why not be involved in it in the future?”

On Circuit of The Americas possibly hosting a season finale in the future, “In the future, with the Mexican Grand Prix being so close to Austin, plus it will be one week after Mexico, there will be a lot of excitement there.  The racing fans can go from one to the other, the circuits are going to help each other. It’s already one of the last grand prix of the year, so why not?”

On rotating the season finale to different tracks for the fans, “It’s difficult to say, I think a lot has to do with the logistics more than anything else. It could be Brazil, Mexico, or Austin.”

On the 2014 rule changes, “I like the new rules. There is much more overtaking this season than in previous years, I think that it is more exciting for the fans. There are more overtakes, more challenges, more dicing, more wheel-to-wheel, it is much better.”

Photo credit: Buda Mendes/Getty Images South America

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.

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