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Haas Formula One entry accepted by FIA

By Alan Baldwin

(Reuters) - Formula One could have an American constructor on the starting grid next year after the governing FIA approved an entry for NASCAR team owner Gene Haas on Friday.

The International Automobile Federation said it was also considering another application made by former F1 team principal Colin Kolles.

"In close consultation with the CRH (commercial rights holder), the FIA has accepted the candidature of Haas Formula LLC and are in the process of conducting further investigations for Forza Rossa," the FIA said in a statement.

No further details were given but an FIA spokesman confirmed that former Jordan, Midland, Spyker, Force India and HRT principal Kolles was behind Forza Rossa with Romanian partners.

"Obviously, we're extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA," Haas said in a separate statement.

"It's an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One.

"Now, the really hard work begins. It's a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid."

The FIA also announced after a meeting of its world motor sports council in Marrakech, Morocco that there would be a meeting of all the teams on May 1 to "clarify the means to achieve a substantial F1 team cost reduction".

FIA president Jean Todt told reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend that plans to impose a cost cap in 2015 had been abandoned and measures would have to come through regulation changes instead.

The governing body said a study into the noise of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines, which critics and fans have said is not loud enough, was underway with preliminary results expected shortly.

MORE TEAMS

The FIA did not say when the proposed new teams were planning on entering.

Last December, the FIA called for expressions of interest from potential new entries wanting to compete from 2015 or 2016, and set a January deadline. There are currently 11 teams on the starting grid.

Full applications had to be submitted by February 10 and a decision was supposed to have been taken by February 28.

Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, representing rights holders CVC, told reporters in Manama that he was happy to have a couple more teams.

"Whether they'll make it or not is another story," he said.

Formula One last admitted new teams in 2010, with a U.S. outfit initially accepted but later removed from the entry list when it became apparent they were not in a position to race.

That failed team was led by Ken Anderson, a former technical director of Haas CNC Racing which was the previous name of Stewart-Haas.

Stewart-Haas Racing won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in 2011 while California-based Haas Automation is one of the world's largest machine tool makers.

Haas also has the Windshear full scale rolling-road wind tunnel in North Carolina.

Of the three 2010 newcomers, Caterham and Marussia are still competing but have yet to score a point and there are no guarantees all the current 11 will be around next year.

Tens of teams have come and gone since the championship started in 1950 and there have been regular fears expressed about the financial state of some of those currently on the starting grid.

Sauber and Lotus had financial problems last season which threatened their futures, and Caterham were warned before the start of the season by Malaysian owner Tony Fernandes that they needed to raise their game.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond and Ken Ferris)

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