The FIA has announced that it is looking for prospective new teams to join the Formula 1 grid in either 2016 or 2017 as part of its bid to ensure the long-term sustainability and prosperity of the sport.
Following the collapse of Caterham F1 Team at the end of the 2014 season, the grid currently stands at ten teams and 20 cars. However, it is set to rise in 2016 when Haas F1 Team – led by NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas – joins the grid.
Nevertheless, the FIA has today released a statement confirming that it is looking for prospective new teams to join the grid in the next two years.
“Having due regard for the sustainability and future success of the Formula One World Championship, the FIA has opened a new selection process to identify a candidate team to participate in the Championship from the start of the 2016 or the 2017 season,” the statement reads.
“The overall long-term interests of the Championship will determine which candidate is 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 5pm CET 30 June 2015.
“The application process will commence with those who have registered an expression of interest before the aforementioned deadline (late applicants will be admitted only at the FIA’s discretion).
“All applicants will be expected to undergo thorough due diligence. By way of indication only, the applicable selection criteria will include:
- the technical ability and resources of the team
- the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation in the Championship at a competitive level
- the team’s experience and human resources
- 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 1st September 2015, leading to a decision on 30 September 2015.
“In the event that no applicant is considered suitable by both the FIA and the commercial rights holder, no additional team will be selected.”
The suggestion that a new team would be able to join the grid for the 2016 season does seem somewhat ambitious given the long lead-up time required by operations to prepare for life in F1.
However, the possibility of new teams entering the sport is certainly an exciting one given that the likes of Audi and Renault have been linked with works entries in the past few months.
Other operations such as Forza Rossa and ART Grand Prix have also been mooted as possible new F1 teams, suggesting that there will be no shortage of applications for the new slots on the grid.
Quite whether the FIA and the commercial rights holder deems them to be suitable for F1 and fit to race is another matter entirely, but this is certainly a positive step towards safeguarding the sport’s long-term future.