McLaren racing director Eric Boullier believes that Formula 1 teams would need six months’ notice to get a third car on the grid.
Following comments by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and former Williams chairman Adam Parr, speculation has been rife that the sport could lose three of its teams for 2015, requiring the front-runners to run a third car to make up the numbers.
Although none of the teams are actively pursuing such drastic action, Boullier believes that it would take six months to get everything in place.
From today’s date, that takes us to beyond the start of the 2015 curtain-raiser in Australia.
“I think the driver is the easiest to get on board,” Boullier said. “The chassis and third car logistics and people around, we would need at least six months’ notice. This is a debate which has the wrong timing, because we have to wait. If there is a need to run three cars then we will see.
“We can question many things about revenue, but I think if we are called and asked to help F1 by running three cars then we have to.”
Caterham, Marussia, Sauber and Lotus are all thought to be at risk of folding in the next few months following financial difficulties over the past couple of years.
There is a good case for arguing that the problems have been caused by the refusal of the bigger teams to work with a cost cap or review the share of prize money. Those at the top of the sport may argue why they should take a hit to help the struggling teams, and many would prefer to run a third car than help the smaller outfits.
Just as F1’s driver market is subject to silly season, the future of many of the teams will be a big talking point until they line up on the grid in Melbourne next March.