According to the BBC, organisers said in a statement on Monday that 1980 champion Jones would head an Australian entry along with compatriot and successful Formula Three team boss Alan Docking.

Briton John Surtees, the 1964 Formula One champion, is involved with a British team.

The Dubai-based championship, billed as the “World Cup of motor racing”, plans to start in September 2005 to fill European winter months when there is no Formula One racing with a new nations-based one-make series.

The single-seater 3.4 litre V8 cars will be provided by A1 and run on a franchise basis by national teams with drivers and sponsors from that country.

Team from nine countries – Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Portugal and South Africa – have been confirmed to date.

Organisers said that Portugal’s franchise holders will involve Real Madrid footballer Luis Figo and former Real coach Carlos Queiroz, now assistant to manager Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Malaysia’s entry will be run by Alex Yoong, the first Formula One driver from the south east Asian country.