Teams to vote on third car

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The Independent Online
Motor racing

DERICK ALLSOP

A posse of British drivers will be tracking top jobs if Formula One teams vote to permit themselves a third car in next year's World Championship.

Teams are currently limited to two cars and most contend they do not have the resources to field another. However, with poorer teams threatened with extinction, Formula One's impresario, Bernie Ecclestone, is anxious to maintain numbers with stronger runners. Williams-Renault, the constructors' champions declined to comment on the proposal yesterday.

One of the beneficiaries could be David Coulthard, the 24-year-old Scot due to be released by Williams at the end of the season. He is understood to have an offer from Mclaren-Mercedes which does not guarantee a regular drive, but a third car would provide him with the competition he seeks. The main McLaren drivers will be Mika Hakkinen, already signed for 1996, and the former champion Alain Prost, provided he decides to come out of retirement. Prost had his first run in the Mclaren at Silverstone yesterday and will conduct a test session today before an official test at the track on September 12.

Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell are other British drivers who may find new options should any teams enter three cars next season.

The subject comes up for discussion next month and Ecclestone says there is "a good chance" the proposal will be approved. Points scored by only two cars would count towards the constructors' championship but all entries would count in the world drivers' championship.

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