FIA seeks interest from would-be Formula 1 teams for 2015 or 2016
The FIA has invited potential new teams capable of racing "at a competitive level" to express their interest in joining Formula 1 from 2015 or 2016.
Motor racing's governing body last admitted new constructors in 2010, when Hispania, Virgin Racing and Lotus Racing increased the grid to 12 teams.
The fact that the FIA has opened "a new selection process to identify a candidate team to participate" in Formula 1 suggests at the very least that there is one. After all, if not, why bother?
Who it might be is a tougher question. It is well known that money is in short supply in F1 at the moment, with several teams struggling even to survive. If sponsors are tough to source for a team that already exists, how difficult is it going to be for a new team to get off the ground?
The recent history of new teams in F1 is not exactly stellar. Four successfully applied the last time such a process was started - albeit under the false pretences of a £40m budget cap that did not happen.
One never made it to the grid, one collapsed after three dire seasons and while the other two still exist in the form of Caterham and Marussia, neither have scored a point in four years.
All of which suggests the mooted new teams - if there are any - may be from car manufacturers. Might Toyota, who quit in 2009, fancy another crack now arch-rival Honda is returning as an engine supplier with McLaren in 2015?
Spanish team Hispania became HRT and folded at the end of 2012.
"The overall long term interests of the championship will determine which candidates are selected," said the FIA.
"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 FIA will be keen to avoid the scenario of 2010, when US F1 - one of four teams granted a spot on the grid - failed to make it to the start line.
The World Motor Sport Council subsequently fined the American-based team and banned the outfit from participating in any FIA championship as punishment for its failure to present a car to take part in the 2010 season.
Virgin Racing and Lotus Racing are the only two of the initial four still racing, but they are now known as Marussia and Caterham respectively. Neither have scored a point.
The FIA says interested parties must register a formal interest by 17:00 CET (16:00 GMT) on 3 January 2014 along with an initial administration fee of $5,000 (£3,000).
Prospective new team owners will need to supply details of the identity of all shareholders and ultimate beneficial owner of all the shares.
Teams to join F1 since 2002
- Toyota joined in 2002, but left at the end of 2009
- Super Aguri joined in 2006, but left after four races in 2008
- Lotus Racing, now Caterham, joined in 2010. They remain on the grid but have yet to score a point.
- Virgin, now Marussia, joined in 2010. They remain on the grid but have yet to score a point.
- Hispania, then HRT, joined in 2010 but folded at the end of 2012.
Information on the candidate's relevant experience and capabilities, including technical experience, racing experience, facilities, equipment and engineering resources will also be required.
The total fee is $130,000 (£80,000) and full applications will need to be submitted by 10 February 2014. A decision is expected on 28 February 2014.
Aside from HRT, Caterham and Marussia, only two other teams - Toyota and Super Aguri - have entered the sport since 2002, amid the high costs of running an outfit.
However, earlier this week the FIA announced the adoption of a cost cap - details of which are still to be finalised - from 2015.