The FIA has reportedly opened up applications for accepting a new Formula One team on the grid, possibly to find a replacement for Hispania Racing Team (HRT).
The last time applications were opened was back in 2010 when 15 interested parties had applied with the FIA picking three: Virgin, Lotus and HRT. Virgin was later taken over by Marussia, Lotus became Caterham, and the HRT dropped out. With HRT dropping out, the grid was reduced to 11 teams and the intent behind the rumoured move makes sense so as to increase the grid back to an even 12.
All potential new teams are asked to register a formal expression of interest with the FIA by January 3. Insiders speculate that the FIA could already have some applicants in mind since the last date for registration is not that far off . However, this time the FIA may ensure to put a few extra clauses in the agreement in relation to the time period of commitment by the new team. The new team may be asked to commit to start on the grid by 2015 and remain there till 2020.
The FIA will look at the following aspects when deciding the new team,
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.
FIA regulations state that there can be as many as 13 teams on the grid and rumour has it that the Federation might just accept more than one team if it finds more than one suitable new entry. That's 26 Formula One cars on the track and we really don't mind it!