After Bernie Ecclestone's idea of allowing teams to enter a third car in the F1 world championship, I wondered when it was that the restriction of two came in? I've read about lots of Ferraris competing in the 1950s and '60s … asked Graham Birt
This isn't a simple one, because of the difficulty of working out what the official team was, when in the early (and not-so-early) days some drivers entered their own cars after buying or hiring them from the works outfit.
I'd thought the strict adherence to two-car teams came in during the early 1970s, and by 1975 most teams were indeed restricting themselves to two cars - but as late as 1980 Lotus entered three for a couple of GPs, the third one being piloted by Nigel Mansell, while Tyrrell occasionally entered a third car for Mike Thackwell.
The first season in which no team entered three cars appears to be 1981 - even that is hard to calculate, as Osella played musical chairs with no fewer than seven drivers that season! But it looks as if they kept to two for each race.
You're right about Ferrari: at the 1961 Belgian GP they entered four cars, and came home first, second, third and fourth. Mercedes did likewise in the 1955 British GP at Silverstone
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