Epsilon Euskadi has strengthened its position as it bids to grab the available 13th spot on the F1 2011 starting grid - by putting a scale model of its 'well-advanced' design into the wind tunnel for the first time.

The Spanish outfit is seemingly up against the Villeneuve/Durango effort and unsuccessful 2010 applicant Stefan GP from Serbia, following the withdrawal from the running of both hot favourite ART Grand Prix and the mysterious American Cypher Group - on both counts due to insufficient funding. Other hopefuls are believed to have already been rejected by the FIA, with the governing body set to interview the final three candidates in Paris at the end of next week.

Headed up by respected erstwhile Tyrrell, Benetton and Prost Grand Prix team manager Joan Villadelprat, Epsilon Euskadi has enjoyed moderate success in recent years in junior single-seater formulae and sportcars - and the recruitment of esteemed former Williams, Brabham, Arrows and Sauber engineer Sergio Rinland is also a mark in its favour.

"Last week we put the model in the wind tunnel for the first time," the Argentine told Corsa. "It went alright. The design is well-advanced."

Rinland added that 'the issue of drivers is not being contemplated at this time', whilst conceding that it would be 'fantastic' were his compatriot Esteban Guerrieri to earn one of the two seats.