Formula 1 - FIA wants 12th team for 2015 season

The FIA has invited prospective new Formula 1 teams to express their interest in joining the category from 2015/2016 until the end of the 2020 season.

This is effectively a repeat of the entry process that led to three new teams joining the grid in 2010 after a total of 15 applied.

As the deadline for expressions of interest is only three weeks away, it suggests that there are some specific candidates in mind.

"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 1 World Championship from the start of the 2015 or the 2016 season up to 2020 inclusive," said a statement.

"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 5pm CET Friday 3 January 2014."

The FIA's call for expressions of interest document sets out a number of criteria for applicants, which includes a non-refundable initial administration fee of $5000, and states that only applicants who register before the January 3 deadline will be considered.

It sets out four key factors on which applications will be evaluated:

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

Article 13.5 of the sporting regulations states that "all applications will be studied by the FIA and accepted or rejected at its absolute discretion".

The number of F1 entries is limited to 13 two-car teams, meaning there is capacity for two more outfits after HRT's demise over last winter although there is no indication that there are plans to award both places.

While the FIA has not specifically invited applications for new entrants since 2010, when it decided not to grant any of the applicants, which included the Jacques Villeneuve-branded Durango project, a slot for 2011, the sporting regulations have left the door open for new teams.

Article 13.1 of the sporting regulations covers the entry criteria for the following season's championship and provided there is a slot available it has been possible for new teams to apply.

"Applications to compete in the Championship may be submitted to the FIA during the period 30 June to 15 July inclusive of the year prior to the year to which the application relates on an entry form as set out in Appendix 2 hereto accompanied by an undertaking to pay the entry fee, calculated in accordance with Appendix 7, to the FIA no later than 30 November of the year prior to the year to which the application relates."

The FIA's recent announcement is a more emphatic push to evaluate new teams and boosts the chances of extra outfits coming into F1 at a time when many existing ones are suffering financially.

During the last decade, only four brand new teams have joined F1, although some outfits have been re-branded.

Caterham (then Lotus), Marussia (then Virgin) and HRT (then Campos) came in for the 2010 season, while Honda offshoot Super Aguri competed from 2006 until May 2008.