LONDON (AP) The Marussia team’s move into bankruptcy protection on Monday, four days after Formula One rival Caterham did the same, leaves only 18 cars on the grid for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, the smallest in nearly a decade.
FRP Advisory, a London-based firm specializing in corporate restructuring, recovery and insolvency, has taken on the role of administrator and said Russian billionaire shareholder Andrei Cheglakov has been unable to provide the required funding to keep Marussia going.
”The company will continue to operate while the joint administrators assess the longer-term viability,” FRP Advisory administrator Geoff Rowley said in a statement.
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The statement also said Marussia’s participation in the season’s final two races ”will depend on the outcome of the administration process.”
It’s not the first time a race in the United States started with a small grid. At the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis, a dispute over safety resulted in only six cars taking part in the race.
The 2005 Monaco Grand Prix was the last normal race to feature only 18 cars, and that was because of the absence of the BAR Honda team, which was completing a two-race ban for a technical infringement.
The Marussia news came three weeks after driver Jules Bianchi was seriously injured after crashing at the Japanese Grand Prix. The 25-year-old Frenchman remains in critical condition in the hospital in Japan following a collision with a recovery vehicle at the Suzuka circuit on Oct. 5.
”Whilst the team has made significant progress during its relatively short period of operation, the highlight of which included securing two constructors championship points in the current F1 season, the position remains that operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment,” the FRP Advisory statement said.
”Following Austin, there are two further rounds of the 2014 championship remaining, in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi, and the team’s participation in those races will depend on the outcome of the administration process and any related negotiations with interested parties in what is a very limited window of opportunity.”
Caterham, also a British team, went into administration on Friday.
Both teams entered Formula One in 2010, along with the now-defunct Madrid-based Hispania team, at a time when the series was preparing to introduce spending limits.
The Caterham team, previously owned by Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, locked its factory last week and told staff to stay away until further notice.