McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says his team would be happy to field a third car on the grid, but he reckons the idea should only be implemented if Formula had less than 10 teams.
Whitmarsh believes it would not be fair for the smaller teams if top outfits like McLaren or Ferrari raced with three cars. He admitted the idea, being favoured also by Ferrari, had not been talked about in FOTA meetings lately.
"It hasn't been discussed recently," he said of third cars. "A third car is really an idea if you get a reduced number of teams. FOTA is working hard to find ways in which we can encourage and allow all of the teams that are currently members to develop and flourish.
"If you introduce a third car, McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes would all be probably happy to. I think in fairness to the smaller teams, it would only disadvantage them further. I think that in the event that the number of teams in the sport dropped below 10, and at the moment we are hoping it is 13 next year, then it would be a fantastic opportunity.
"I think if we then attached the third car to some regulations that encouraged some of these very competent but non-F1 experts to participate I think it would create some interesting spectacle and public interest."
The McLaren boss made it clear, however, that he reckons it would be very good for the sport if champions from other series were given the chance to race in a third car from a top team.
"Formula 1, undoubtedly, certainly in my mind, is the pinnacle of motor racing technology and in terms of the quality of the field and drivers," said Whitmarsh. "Apart from the greats that we already have in our sport, it would be fantastic for Sebastien Loeb, Valentino Rossi, Jimmie Johnson or whoever to be participating in Formula 1. I think it would be natural for them to consider the opportunity and it would be fantastic for F1.
"I've got no doubt that all of those guys have got incredible talent and they would, if they turned their mind to it and gave themselves enough focus and time, be very competitive F1 drivers."