Formula 1 commercial rights manager Bernie Ecclestone thinks it unlikely that third cars will become a part of the sport, despite a fresh push by Ferrari for them to be allowed.
The idea of having third cars resurfaced recently after discussions that took place within the Formula 1 Commission about intellectual property and technology transfer between teams. As part of the debate following that meeting, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo suggested that F1 would be better off seeing smaller teams running cars from the front-running teams.
Speaking at the Ferrari World Finals in Mugello last weekend, di Montezemolo said: "There's the issue of the third car, which mark my words, we support not so much for our own interests but more for those of the sport in general. We believe the interest of the fans, media and sponsors could increase if there is a bigger number of competitive cars on track rather than cars that are two or three seconds off the pace, being lapped after just a few laps.
"As an example, remember in 1961 Giancarlo Baghetti won the French Grand Prix at Reims with a privately entered Ferrari. There you are, it would be nice one day in the future to see one of our cars running in American colours, or Chinese, or maybe those of Abu Dhabi."
The idea of third cars has not got much support from elsewhere in the paddock, however - and even Ecclestone believes the move would not be a good thing unless grid numbers dropped.
When asked about his views on the matter, Ecclestone said: "If by chance we lost a couple of teams then I think it will probably be good. But the other teams don't like it. You can imagine if we have got three Ferraris, three Red Bulls, and three McLarens, it is not so good for other people."
Rival team bosses think it better that effort is spent ensuring that every team on the grid can be competitive, rather than heading down the route of customer cars.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "I think the DNA, the structure of Formula 1, requires the variety of teams and we have got some new teams and we have got some smaller teams and we recognize that it is very, very challenging to get the budget to compete in Formula 1.
"If, today, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes all fielded third cars then I think, in my view, it would be damaging for the sport. There are pros and cons and I think it is right to have the debate and people have different views but at the moment I think what we should be concentrating on is ensuring that we have got a viable and sustainable model for all of the teams in F1."