Top Gear could return in a similar format to Have I Got News For You with a different host each week, according to a BBC insider.
A top BBC source told The Independent: “The masterplan is to reconfigure the show along the lines of the post-Angus Deayton Have I Got News for You?, with a different guest hosting each episode.
“Despite their pronouncements of loyalty to Clarkson, Hammond and May have taken the trouble not to resign in protest at his sacking…[and] have each been offered £1m a year to keep the Top Gear flame of inspired puerility alive.”
The BBC declined to renew Clarkson’s contract in March after the presenter punched a Top Gear producer on set following a row about the lack of hot food on offer.
Things you never knew about Top Gear
Things you never knew about Top Gear
1/14 Top Gear isn't really for adults
It's 'aimed at people with a mental age of nine', according to executive producer Andy Wilman.
2/14 Planet Earth loves it...
Top Gear is screened in more than 100 countries worldwide and has millions of fans.
3/14 ...but not all motoring hacks do
You might think Jezza was a hero of the motoring hack world but that's not strictly accurate. Telegraph journalist Neil Lyndon summed Top Gear's 21st birthday last year up well: 'Does that mean Billy Bunter and his gang finally get forced out of the Fourth Remove and into long trousers?'
4/14 The Top Gear theme tune is a classic rock song
Seven-minute instrumental 'Jessica' by The Allman Brothers was a hit in 1973. Top Gear has recorded its own version now but used part of the original recording at first. One for the road trip playlist.
5/14 Jeremy Clarkson couldn't get much more controversial if he tried
The presenter is currently suspended from the BBC following a 'fracas' with a producer over a steak dinner. Past scandals include a string of racism allegations.
6/14 This Porsche caused all sorts of trouble in Argentina
The Top Gear team were forced to flee Argentina after locals took offence at the car's number plate - believing it was a deliberately provocative reference to the Falklands War of 1982.
7/14 If it's car-buying advice you want, look elsewhere
It's an in-joke in Top Gear that they don't do car tests. You would be mad to make a purchases based on Jezza's verdict.
8/14 Richard Hammond had a near-death experience filming Top Gear
The 'Hamster' was filming a Top Gear segment in a dragster called Vampire when its front-right tyre burst at 288mph. Hammond spent two weeks in a coma but luckily went on to make a full recovery. He requested that no mention of the crash was made in future Top Gear episodes.
9/14 Jeremy Clarkson is more than a little bit taller than Richard Hammond
Nine inches, to be precise.
10/14 Top Gear used to offer real advice
Before these lads took over, it was a real car-reviewing show with presenters such as Angela Rippon, who gave practical reviews of down-to-earth workhorses such as Cavaliers or Mini Metros.
11/14 Those 'reasonably priced' cars take quite a battering
Denis Chick, of Vauxhall, is brave to have lent the show a fleet of his Astras. He said: "Vauxhall Astra sales would not improve if everyone drove like Jimmy Carr around the Dunsfold track." The comedian hilariously took his test car's front off-side tyre clean off its rim.
12/14 Jeremy Clarkson is a YouTube star
Stray down the motoring internet hole and you'll find lovingly posted videos of 'Clarkson the early years' with incredibly loud hair reviewing 1990s cars in an oddly sensible manner. Very disturbing viewing.
13/14 There have been multiple Stigs
Racing driver Perry McCarthy was stuntsman The Stig on the first two series of Top Gear - here's the man under that famous helmet.
14/14 Ben Collins was The Stig for eight years
Ben Collins was The Stig on Top Gear for eight years. He left amid a clash with the BBC when he unmasked his identity and published an autobiography. Collins thinks Top Gear has 'lost some of its sparkle'.
Clarkson has not ruled out the possibility of returning to the BBC. In his first interview with the broadcaster since the incident, he told Chris Evans’ BBC2 breakfast show: “James and Richard can go back to the BBC, that door is still open for them…Well so can I, you know, I’m not sacked remember.”
The Top Gear trio hinted at a return to TV at their rebranded Top Gear Live show, named Clarkson, Hammond and May Live after Clarkson’s departure.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in our TV show from all around the world. Who knows what will happen,” they said.
BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw has not ruled out the possibility of a female presenter fronting the show.
“We’ll definitely look at some women, but it’s not a driving priority,” she said.
Former Top Gear presenter Angela Rippon said she would like to return to host the show 38 years after she first fronted the programme.
The former newsreader said it would be “great” if the BBC invited her back to host the show when it returns to TV next year.