Mike Stevens | Aug 10, 2009

THE FIA HAS REOPENED applications for entry to the 2010 Formula 1 championship in a last ditch attempt to fill the void left by BMW Sauber.

BMW’s withdrawal of support for its Formula 1 program has left the FIA in desperate search for a 13th team to fill the grid, prompting President Max Mosley to notify the seven teams on the reserve list to submit their expressions of interest.

Spanish outfit Epsilon Euskadi is considered front-runners at present, with the team still forging ahead with its F1 project despite being rejected by the FIA in July.

Epsilon Euskadi team principal Joan Villadelprat told Autosport: “We are still working on the project, at a much slower rate obviously because we don't have the security (of securing entry).

"What we can say is that the people who were interested in helping us are still interested, which is something incredible. And if the opportunity arises, we are going to attack it, there’s no doubt about it."

Villadelprat though did cast doubt on his team’s ability to replace BMW Sauber only last week, admitting it would be a challenge in the short timeframe.

"To take BMW's place would be difficult, but if a vacancy becomes available we will be there. I am in permanent contact with the FIA and Ecclestone. I am sure that we will be in F1, I don't know if it's in a week, a month or a year,” he said.

David Richards’ Prodrive is another contender for the final berth on the grid, and remains interested in Formula 1 according to reports in the UK.

However, any attempts to finalise the grid swiftly may be complicated by a late bid for BMW Sauber headed by stakeholder Peter Sauber.

USF1

Meanwhile, USF1 boss Peter Windsor believes his team is on track to have its 2010 challenger ready for testing before the end of the year.

Windsor said the team’s engineers and aerodynamicists have already completed the car’s design, although it is still subject to possible future amendments.

“We've had a team of engineers and designers working on the car and luckily, we're in an era when they can just crank out their work from two or three offices working with very sophisticated CFD [Computational Flow Dynamics] coding, that's what Formula 1 design and engineering is about these days,” he told Sports Illustrated.

"We haven't lost any time at all, to be honest. We'll start manufacturing the car in the next couple months. We don't have to have the car built until early January. In reality, we've got a nice timeframe and have it ready. In general, the design is completed, but you never say it's completely done."

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