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Intrigue around new Chinese F1 team revs up

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Intrigue around new Chinese F1 team revs up
By:
Jun 21, 2017, 4:29 PM

Intrigue about the possibility of an 11th team entering Formula 1 ramped up on Wednesday when a new name was registered in Britain and the FIA confirmed it had been sounded out about a slot on the grid.

There have been rumours for several weeks that new contenders were pondering getting involved in grand prix racing, but no firm plans had been revealed.

However, an update of Britain's Companies House register has revealed the renaming of a business as China F1 Racing Team Limited.

The company, which had previously been called Bronze Fortune Limited, is run by a French lawyer called Michael Orts, who has competed in sports car racing in Europe and America.

Little is known about the plans and Orts was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday about whether this was a serious bid to get on the grid.

However, speaking at the FIA Sport Conference in Geneva on Wednesday, president Jean Todt confirmed that the governing body had been approached by some individuals regarding a future entry.

"There are always rumours, but we have had some interest from some teams," said Todt.

When asked to give more detail on the number, Todt said simply: "Not many."

It is up to the FIA when it chooses to open up the tender process to new teams, and Todt said it would only do so if there were serious candidates.

"When we feel it is time we will be able to make a tender," he said.

"At the moment we have ten teams and the idea is to have up to 12 teams. So we have an opportunity, if we have one or two strong newcomers it could be possible."

He added: "First we need to check ourselves the request. It's going through a kind of audit to see who are the potential buyers.

"If it's a big manufacturer, it's easy, if it's a privateer, you need to be more careful. And then, once you are sure that there is a real interest, and once you're sure that people are able, like it was the case with Haas, for example, then we make tender."

Todt was adamant, however, that it was unrealistic to expect a new team to be put together as soon as 2018.

"No, it would be foolish to think that a new team would be ready in eight months, even less."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble