F1 tipped to welcome a new team on the grid for 2021

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Formula 1 could return to a 22-car grid for 2021 with a new team set to enter, according to RaceFans.

Panthera Team Asia is believed to be the project of Benjamin Durand, formerly the chief of WEC LMP1 outfit SMP Racing and is reportedly already making preparations by locating in F1's 'Silicon Valley' near Silverstone and hiring key staff.

One such appointment is understood to be aerodynamic engineer Tim Milne, who has worked for teams like Renault, Toyota, Caterham and Manor during his career.

The RaceFans report also suggests Panthera plan to follow the lead set by Haas in terms of forming a close relationship with a current manufacturer to outsource parts rather than develop their own.

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A potential blip in that direction is the expectation that the list of components a team must make independently is set to increase to address concerns from the full independent constructors like McLaren and Williams.

Currently, no formal bid for entry has been made nor has a tender been put out for a new team by the FIA as negotiations continue to draw up the final regulations for 2021.

However, with a budget cap set to be introduced and efforts made to close up the grid, it is a strong sign for F1 that there is an interested party in joining the grid.

Whether Panthera has any link to the reported Chinese consortium that was considering an entry too, is unknown at this time.