London: Formula One teams would need six months` notice to add a third car to their lineup, which makes any decision too late already for the start of next season, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said on Thursday.
The Frenchman was responding to a suggestion by the sport`s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone that teams should be allowed to run three cars regardless of the numbers already on the grid.
Teams are currently restricted to two cars under the regulations.
"I think the driver is the easiest to get on board," Boullier told reporters. "The chassis and third car logistics and people around, we would need at least six months’ notice."
Ecclestone said at last weekend`s Singapore Grand Prix that he would like to see teams allowed to run more cars, a measure that has been mooted in the past to ensure a full grid in the event of some of the smaller outfits folding.
Several current teams have financial problems with regular speculation about their ability to survive through to next season -- although all say they will make it.
"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."
His comments triggered a debate about the likely costs involved and whether it was the right direction for the sport to be travelling in.
"The regulations and the agreements do provide that, if the grid is less than 20 cars, then participating teams will race a third car," Force India owner Vijay Mallya told reporters in Singapore last week.
"That’s something everybody signed up to as well. I hope it never comes to that. I think the DNA of Formula One should be preserved."
Claire Williams, vice-principal of former champions Williams, agreed with that: "I think we want to have a healthy grid of 10 teams all fielding two cars. Not four teams fielding three cars. For Williams, that’s not the DNA of our sport."