The future of the hugely popular British TV show, which is screened in nearly 60 countries across the world including Russia, India and the U.S., has been thrown into jeopardy after BBC bosses fired Clarkson over a clash with a producer.

More than a million fans signed a petition calling for his reinstatement, and Clarkson received support from stars including Hollywood actor Russell Crowe and rapper Snoop Dogg.

Clarkson's co-star May, who completes the line-up with Richard Hammond, has now ruled out continuing Top Gear without the controversial star and warned fans that replacing him will be "virtually impossible".

He tells Britain's The Guardian newspaper, "Me and Hammond with a surrogate Jeremy is a non-starter, it just wouldn't work. That would be lame... 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 a b**ody tough call to do Top Gear without Jeremy, that would be a bit of a daft idea... (It) would be short sighted and I don't think it would work. Virtually impossible."

However, May is convinced BBC bosses will eventually invite Clarkson back and revive Top Gear: "In the future when all this has blown over there might be an opportunity for three of us to get back together on the BBC to do Top Gear or a car show of some sort. The BBC haven't completely closed the door on Jeremy's return. They've not banned him or fired him, only just not renewed his contract for the moment. It's a subtle difference but an important one... (It is just a) light kicking... not excluding him from the club."