Marussia also set to miss United States GP

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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.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.