The FIA has begun the process to find a new twelfth team for the 2015 F1 season.

As a number of teams struggle to cope financially in the sport, it is believed the 2014 season could have just 10 teams as Marussia look to merge with a current midfield outfit.

Initially it is understood the Russian team, who claimed 10th in the Constructor’s Championship this year, contacted Williams about a possible collaboration but the Grove team was uninterested - however, talks could be taking place with struggling Sauber.

The last team to exit F1 was HRT in 2012 after just three seasons in the sport; they were one of three new teams who joined the grid back in 2010 as the sport looked to introduce a budget cap.

Since then the cap idea failed and leading teams have simply continued spending to levels way above the proposed amount back in 2010. Indeed, the two teams left (Marussia and Caterham) have yet to score a point in F1 with their cars lapping several seconds off the slowest established team.

However, the FIA confirmed on Wednesday they were launching the “selection process” for a team that can “participate at a competitive level” in time for 2015 with a possible delay until 2016.

The move comes just a few days after the budget cap concept was put back on the agenda at the meeting of the F1 Commission on Monday.

In a statement, the governing body confirmed applicants have until January 3 to submit their interest, while a document accompanying the statement said the full application fee was $130,000.

“The overall long-term interests of the championship will determine which candidates are selected,” the document added.

The panel in charge of selecting an applicant will also be looking for ”technical ability and resources”, and the ability “to raise and maintain sufficient funding”.

“A decision (will be made) on 28 February 2014,” the FIA added in its document entitled ‘call for expressions of interest’.

“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 letter read.

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