The FIA has opened up an F1 entry process inviting new teams to participate in the World Championship as early as 2016.
The move comes on the heels of the recent F1 Strategy Group meeting after which the governing body referred to the sustainability of the sport, which meant trying to ensure that there are enough teams around in the future.
Usually a “call for expression of interest” comes in response to the existence of a genuine candidate who has already been in contact, as was the case with Haas, when a process was opened on December 13th 2013. That also attracted the Romanian FRR/Forza Rossa project, which subsequently stalled.
This time the deadline for expressions of interest is June 30th, with full applications due by September 1st and a result by September 30th. That schedule is some seven months later than last time around.
It’s obvious that in normal circumstances such a timetable would make it absolutely impossible to compete in 2016 – assuming that teams are building their own cars from scratch. Thus it remains to be seen what the FIA’s intentions are in this case, and whether this is actually a first move towards customer cars. If so then the schedule could probably just about be achieved, especially if it involved an existing team from another area of motor sport.
An alternative is that someone is planning to “do a Haas” and get as close as possible to a customer car under the current rules, which means buying everything from another team but making their own chassis and bodywork. If that is the case the planning must already be well under way.
It’s worth noting that Ron Dennis was behind the push for customer cars in the Strategy Group meeting, and that McLaren recently asked ART’s GP2 team to switch to a livery that matched the F1 cars. ART is currently running McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne, and Honda protege Nobuhara Matsushita.
After the customer car plan emerged co-owner Nicolas Todt recently told this writer: “I don’t have any particular comment to make regarding what has been announced. Entering F1 is however something that ART could consider, but only if it makes real sense to us, and therefore if all the pieces of the jigsaw are there.”
The FIA statement said: 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 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:
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 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 last F1 entry tender was in 2013: http://adamcooperf1.com/2013/12/11/fia-opens-procedure-for-new-f1-teams-to-join-in-2015/