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Motor racing: FIA seeks interest from would-be Formula One teams

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One's governing body sought expressions of interest on Wednesday from would-be new teams that could enter the sport from 2015 or 2016.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) posted a note on its website (www.fia.com) announcing "a new selection process to identify a candidate team to participate at a competitive level".

"The overall long-term interests of the championship will determine which candidates are selected," it added.

Formula One last admitted new constructors in 2010, when Spanish-based Hispania, Virgin Racing and Malaysian-owned Lotus Racing expanded a depleted grid to 12 teams following the departure of manufacturers Honda, Toyota and BMW.

Hispania later became HRT and folded at the end of 2012, while Virgin became Marussia and Lotus Racing are now competing as Caterham.

The FIA move comes at a time of renewed speculation about the financial health of even some of the well established teams and an increasing need for drivers who can bring sponsorship with them.

Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, cited non-payment of wages as one of the reasons why he decided to leave Lotus and return to Ferrari next year.

The FIA said the precise terms of the selection process would be communicated to those who registered a formal expression of interest by 1700 Paris time on Jan 3, 2014.

Interested parties would be required to send an initial administration fee of $5,000 as well as details about the identity of all shareholders and ultimate beneficial owner of all shares.

The total fee, required from all those ultimately submitting full applications, will be $130,000.

"The FIA anticipates that full applications will need to be submitted by Feb 10, 2014, leading to a decision on Feb 28, 2014," the governing body added.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ian Ransom)

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