The F1 drivers who would love to see three-car teams next season

Kamui Kobayashi

The majority of fans may be against three-car teams, but there are plenty of drivers who'd love to see it happen.

Following the Italian Grand Prix, former Williams F1 chairman Adam Parr posted an incendiary tweet stating: "This is the last year of F1 as we know it. In 2015 eight teams will contest the championship, with several teams entering three cars."

The idea has long been mooted as a way to protect against depleted grids, particularly during times of economic difficulty in the sport - like the one we are currently seeing.

Parr's suggestion is based on the assumption that a number of teams - notably Caterham and Sauber - are, financially speaking, sailing very close to the wind. If these two pulled out the grid would be reduced to 18 cars; logically, asking F1's four richest teams to make up the shortfall could be seen as an answer.

However it is unpopular with fans. There is a feeling that three-car teams would allow the powerhouse squads - Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren - to strengthen their grip on the sport. Even those who survived the transitions - privateers like Force India and Williams - would eventually be choked out of the sport.

Senior F1 figures were quick to deny any such change was afoot. However Bernie Ecclestone has discussed the possibility again in Singapore this weekend.

"It's always been on the cards that if we lose up to three teams then the other teams will run three cars," said Ecclestone. "I think we should do it anyway.

"I would rather see Ferrari with three cars, or any of the other top teams with three cars, than having teams that are struggling,” he added.

This is a source of great concern to many fans. But it will be welcome news for some of the sport's drivers. Because there are half a dozen on the current grid who may have no future in the sport under the current system, but who could be targeting podiums and wins if three-car teams came to pass.

For example, Jules Bianchi would surely be handed the third Ferrari berth as reward for his good work at Marussia, and to prepare him for a long-term future with the Scuderia. Romain Grosjean would have a real shot at a McLaren seat, or perhaps the team's new engine suppliers Honda would make a case for their countryman Kamui Kobayashi, whose future at Caterham looks non-existent.

Daniil Kvyat would probably be promoted to the third Red Bull seat, allowing Jean-Eric Vergne to keep his Toro Rosso drive and act as mentor to teenager Max Verstappen. And at Mercedes, chances are Valtteri Bottas would be bought out of his Williams deal and given a shot with the Silver Arrows. Hamilton vs. Rosberg vs. Bottas - just imagine that. What's more, it would open a spot at the Grove-based team to hire a young talent, of which there are plenty on the sidelines.

Kobayashi has admitted that the three-car idea appeals to him, as it is perhaps his only hope of staying in F1.

“I like this idea,” he said ahead of this weekend's race, which may be his last for Caterham. “For me it could be an opportunity.” The former Sauber driver also added to confusion over the sports future by saying: “I don’t know how many teams will exist next year.”

The reality is that, barring a shakeup in the sport, there will probably be enough teams around next season to keep two-car teams across the field. Which, in many respects, is a good thing. Few believe that the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes need more power; if anything, the 'big-four' need reining in.

But keeping 10 or 11 teams will undoubtedly mean the last few spots on the grid being filled by pay drivers. Kobayashi and Vergne now look all but certain to depart the sport, while Bianchi's spot at Marussia and Grosjean's Lotus seat are both insecure, despite both comfortably beating their team-mates this season.

However each will struggle to bring the funds their respective teams need to stay afloat. There is a very real risk that one of these two, both potential grand prix winners, will be on the sidelines next year. Meanwhile so-so drivers with big money - you need only look at their team-mates for examples - will continue in the sport.

So while most fans will be pleased should F1 avoid three-car teams, the likes of Bianchi and Grosjean may not share their feelings. And if Bernie does get his way, there is at least the comfort that it will keep genuine talent in the sport. After all, which is worse: Jules Bianchi challenging Kimi Raikkonen in a third Ferrari, or the talented Frenchman sat watching from the pit wall as an unused reserve?