The FIA has asked for expressions of interest from potential new F1 teams to join the World Championship in 2015 or beyond.
The fact that a procedure is being put in place suggests that at least one genuine candidate has already been in contact with the FIA and/or Bernie Ecclestone.
The news also comes at a time when several existing teams are in serious danger of collapse, and the new procedure opens up the possibility of filling the gaps – perhaps with a team that grows out of, or uses the assets of, a failed team.
If a current team goes into liquidation, it loses its historical commercial rights, and in effect has to start afresh.
A note on the governing body’s website said: “The FIA has decided to open a new selection process to identify a candidate team to participate at a competitive level in the FIA Formula One World Championship from the start of the 2015 or the 2016 season up to 2020 inclusive. The overall long-term interests of the championship will determine which candidates are selected.
“The precise terms of this selection process, together with the applicable selection criteria, deadlines, legal requirements and other conditions, will be communicated to candidates who have registered a formal expression of interest with the FIA’s secretariat before 5 p.m. CET Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.”
The formal application noted: “All applicants will be expected to undergo thorough due diligence. By way of indication only, the applicable selection criteria will include: (a) the technical ability and resources of the team; (b) the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation in the championship at a competitive level; (c) the team’s experience and human resources; (d) the FIA’s assessment of the value that the candidate may bring to the championship as a whole.
“By way of indication only, the FIA anticipates that full applications will need to be submitted by Feb. 10, 2014, leading to a decision on Feb. 28, 2014. In the event that no applicant is considered suitable by both the FIA and the commercial rights holder, no additional team will be selected.”Bernie Ecclestone, FIA, Formula 1