Marussia also set to miss United States GP


The United States Grand Prix is set to be contested by just nine teams and 18 cars after Bernie Ecclestone told reporters today that Marussia would not make the race in Austin next weekend.

Following yesterday’s news that Caterham F1 Team would be missing both the US GP and the Brazilian Grand Prix whilst a new buyer is found, F1 supremo Ecclestone said that the financially-troubled Marussia would also not make the grid at the Circuit of The Americas.

Reports from both the BBC and Reuters quoted Ecclestone as saying: “Neither of those two teams are going to go to America.”

For some time, Marussia has been known to be struggled financially, with sources inside the paddock even predicting that the team would not be racing beyond the end of the European leg of the 2014 season.

After scoring its first points in F1 back in Monaco, the team is poised for its best-ever finish in the constructors’ championship, currently ranking in ninth place.

However, with an 18-car field set to race in Austin, it gives 10th-placed Sauber a great chance to get on the scoreboard and move above Marussia, thus denying the Anglo-Russian team a great pot of prize money.

Marussia raced with just one car in Russia two weeks ago following Jules Bianchi’s accident at the Japanese Grand Prix that left him with severe head injuries. He remains in hospital fighting for his life.

Caterham has now been taken over by its administrators, and will not resume racing until fresh investment is found. The team does hope to be on the grid for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Should the grid fall to just 18 cars in Austin, the financial crisis that has been spoken about in Formula 1 for so long would finally have hit with considerable force. As the smaller teams fought for a cost cap and other cost-cutting measures, the bigger outfits continually refused to play ball.

As a result, the United States Grand Prix looks set to be contested by just 18 cars, marking the lowest grid since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix when BAR was banned for running under the minimum weight in San Marino.

Had Marussia planned to run two cars in Austin, this news will also come as a bitter blow to American racer Alexander Rossi, who had hoped to make his full F1 debut on home soil. He was named as the team’s entry for the Russian Grand Prix before it opted to run just one car.

In the rights that all teams agree to in F1, there is a clause that allows them to miss three races. As NBCSN’s Will Buxton suggests here, it may be that Marussia will take advantage of this to put more of its resources into its 2015 campaign.

Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen’s two-man battle in Motocross provides surprises

Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross
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The 2019 Motocross season is one-third in the books and the title battle may have already come down to a two-man contest, while the pair of contenders might just be a little surprising in their own way.

Strictly by the numbers, no one can count Eli Tomac’s early season charge of first- and second-place finishes shocking, but threepeating in Motocross is such an incredibly difficult feat that no one would have been surprised to see him struggle out of the gates either. And in fact, that is precisely what happened.

Tomac came out of the gates slow in Round 1 and was seventh by the end of Lap 1 of Moto 1 – hardly the auspicious start he hoped for. He rebounded only as far as fourth and that ultimately cost him a chance to win the overall. Tomac won Moto 2 to claim second overall.

In Round 2, Tomac found his rhythm and won both Motos and grabbed the red plate. For the moment, he had the momentum with three consecutive Moto wins.

Tomac stumbled again in Round 3 – this time finishing only fifth in Moto 1 and earning only 16 points to dig a deep hole that eventually surrendered the red plate to Ken Roczen.

It was at Thunder Valley in Round 3 that a pattern emerged. Tomac would not make it easy on himself early in the day, but was more than capable of winning the second Motos to overcome his deficit.

That Roczen has won this season is also not a surprise in itself. Many believed his ascent to the top step of the podium was way overdue.

That he has run so well, however, was not entirely expected at the start of the season. Since injuring both arms in a pair of accidents, Roczen came tantalizingly close to snapping his winless streak a dozen times. He won heat races during the Supercross season and finished second at Anaheim I, Minneapolis, Dallas, and Seattle earlier this year.

He just couldn’t secure the overall win.

Roczen’s Moto 1 victory at Hangtown might have been the precursor to another disappointing weekend, but once Tomac got into the lead, Roczen zeroed in on the Kawasaki’s back tire and finished second in route to the overall victory.

Roczen lost the overall and the red plate to Tomac in Round 2 at Pala, but he stood on the podium in both Motos. Roczen podiumed twice again in Round 3 while taking that overall victory to regain the red plate in what has become a seesaw affair in the early part of the 2019 season.

Last week, Roczen looked more like Tomac with his desperate struggle in Moto 1 and sixth-place finish. That was the first (and so far only) time this season that he failed to stand on the podium.

Roczen’s Moto 2 win last week was just enough to put him second overall with barely enough points to force a tie at the top of the leaderboard with 176 points apiece.

Meanwhile, Tomac failed to win either Moto with a third in the first race and runner-up finish in the second.

The moral victory and advantage may shift to Roczen this week.

As they have swapped the victory in the first four rounds with Roczen winning the odd-numbered events, he sees this weekend’s Round 5 as an opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to next weekend’s race,” Roczen said in a team press release. “The track is sandy. It’s very similar—actually almost identical—to what I ride on a regular basis at home.”

Tomac and Roczen enter Round 5 with a 32-point advantage over two riders tied for third in the standings.

So far Zach Osborne and Jason Anderson have not been in the same league as the leaders, but it only takes one slip of the wheel to fall out of the points in in a race and allow these racers to close the gap.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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