How about the idea of giving the third and / or test drivers their own race every Grand Prix weekend? This idea popped up in my mind after Felipe Massa retired from the Hungarian Grand Prix due some illness. His replacement is former Force India driver and current Williams third driver Paul di Resta. His last race was in November 2013 and comparing the cars from 2013 and the current once is comparing apples with peers.
Isn’t it better for the teams 3th drivers and their test drivers to have a race for themselves. Many of these drivers do a lot of simulation work for the teams, and if they drive a real Formula One car mostly it is during a demo in a city or on a circuit with a car that’s 5 year of older because the regulation of the FIA says so. Some of the drivers got the luck that they can attempt some test sessions or some free practice sessions on the Friday but most of the time they don’t have the luck.
This weekend’s qualification may show the need of a special event or race during a Grand Prix weekend for the third and test drivers in the Formula One. Di Resta did an excellent job by hopping in the car and just drive the damn thing over the circuit. However, his qualification time was 01:19.868 which was good for the 19th place on the grid for tomorrow’s race on the Hungaroring. In my opinion, it shows the third and test drivers in the Formula One should have their own race.
When you let the drivers compete with each other every Grand Prix weekend in a special race they will improve their skills and stay sharp. It will be much easier for them to replace a driver who got sick or can’t compete a race due his absent. And you will give the visitors of the Grand Prix, who already pay a lot for a seat in the sand with cars who don’t make a good sound and drive only their rounds behind each other, an extra race which they will probably enjoy. The 3th and test drivers will race to each other, and I bet they want to show their team and the other teams they are as fast as the other drivers.