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FIA confirms $48m bond

THE FIA World Motor Sport Council has confirmed the $48m bond which prospective Formula 1 team owners will have to pay if they wish to join the 11 teams in the Formula 1 World Championship. The bond has been put in place following the HondaÊMotorÊCompany's decision to break its commitment to enter F1 with its own team.

The $48m would be deposited with the FIA and would then be paid back in monthly installments (with interest added) starting at the first Grand Prix of the year. If the entrant fails to appear for the championship it would forfeit the entire amount although if it decided to delay for 12 months, the FIA would keep only $12m.

The bond means that anyone planning to enter F1 will have to be serious about the sport. It is intended to ensure that only companies with proper funding compete in F1. Although it sounds like a considerable sum of money the $48m bond is still cheaper than buying an existing team. The cheapest team (Minardi) is now asking for around $50m.

As an apparent concession to Toyota the World Council has announced that an application for the 12th slot can be made two years in advance of the intended program which means that if Toyota wants to enter F1 in 2002 it can declare its intention on March 1 next year and stop someone else grabbing the vacant slot. At the same time the rule may inspire a couple of other major manufacturers to declare their intention to enter the sport in 2002 - in which case the FIA will have to rule on which entry it accepts.

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