“Me and Hammond with a surrogate Jeremy is a non-starter, it just wouldn’t work. That would be lame, or ‘awks’ as young people say,” May explained. “It has to be the three of us. You can’t just put a surrogate Jeremy in and expect it to carry on. It would be forced. I don’t believe they would be stupid enough to try that.
May added that the BBC hasn’t completely closed the door on Clarkson's return; it just didn't renew his contract for the moment -- a subtle difference but an important one in his mind.
As for a possible reunion with Clarkson and Hammond for a motoring show on a rival broadcaster, May said that there was “nothing to rule out,” even though one or more of the presenters might have a non-compete clause.