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.
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.
With Caterham out of the mix, 10th at worst is guaranteed for Marussia. Makes sense to miss final 3 and focus resources on 2015.
— Will Buxton (@willbuxton) October 25, 2014