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FIA puts price tag on Formula One entry

PARIS, Oct 6 Would-be Formula One team owners eager to take on the likes of Ferrari and McLaren were told on Wednesday that they had first to hand over $48 million.
They were also warned that they would lose the cash if they then changed their minds.
"New applicants must deposit $48,000,000 with the FIA when submitting an application,'' the International Automobile Federation, the sport's ruling body, said in a statement after its world motor sport council had met in Paris.
"This sum will be returned if the application is refused or in 12 equal monthly instalments (including interest), commencing immediately after the first event,'' it added, announcing sporting regulations in force from January 2000.
"If the applicant fails to appear for the championship for which it has entered, its deposit will be forfeited save only that the applicant may delay its participation by one year, in which case $12,000,000 will be forfeit.''
There are currently 11 teams in Formula One with a potential 12th slot remaining unfilled although Japanese carmaker Toyota is gearing up to enter by 2003 and several other parties have expressed interest.
Robin Herd, a co-founder of the defunct March team, was quoted in Autosport magazine last month as saying he had made enquiries about entering Formula One.
The struggling Italian Minardi team meanwhile said last month that they were contemplating selling out.
The FIA's Formula One commission also decided that cars had to be fitted with an FIA accident data recorder at multi-team testing sessions as well as during races.
Other changes to the sporting regulations were to allow race directors to stop cars running in wet conditions without a rear light and to allow drivers to cross the track under the supervision of a marshall after retiring during a race.