THE struggling Marussia Formula 1 team have followed rivals Caterham into administration and will miss this weekend’s US Grand Prix, administrators FRP Advisory LLP announced in a statement yesterday.
The move will leave just nine teams and 18 cars on the starting grid for the race in Austin, Texas, which is followed immediately by the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo. The season’s finale is in Abu Dhabi on 23 November.
Caterham went into administration last week, with their factory closed and the staff told to stay away until further notice.
“With the existing shareholder unable to provide the required level of funding, the [Marussia] senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long term future, but regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available,” said FRP’s joint administrator Geoff Rowley.
“Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place the company into administration.”
The news was expected, with Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone indicating on Saturday that neither team would be going to Austin.
There has been no comment from Marussia, who are ninth in the championship, since last week. Their entry is held officially by Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited, with Russian Andrei Cheglakov the majority shareholder.
Reports have for some time indicated that Cheglakov, whose Marussia sportscar company closed in April, was not prepared to put any more money into the team and was seeking an exit if no buyer was forthcoming.
The Ferrari-powered team were already reeling from the life-threatening injury suffered by their French driver Jules Bianchi in Japan three weeks ago and entered only one car at what was nominally a home race in Russia.
Bianchi, 25, remains in a critical condition in hospital in Japan with serious brain trauma after crashing into a recovery tractor at Suzuka.
Malaysian-registered Caterham are 11th in the championship and have yet to score a point.
The absence of the two struggling British-based teams from Texas means that none of the three newcomers who entered the sport in 2010 remains on track. The third, Spanish-based HRT, folded at the end of 2012.
Rowley said that the administrators had assessed that it was not viable for Marussia, given their current financial circumstances, to take part in the next race.
“The company will continue to operate while the joint administrators assess the longer term viability of the company in its present form,” he added.
Marussia’s participation in Brazil and Abu Dhabi remained in doubt and will depend on the outcome of the administration process and any related negotiations with interested parties.
However, Rowley recognised there was “a very limited window of opportunity”.
The administrator said that no redundancies had been made and that all of the nearly 200-strong staff at the Banbury-based team had been paid in full to the end of October.