Just 17 cars are expected to feature in qualifying for the US Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel likely to sit out the session while cash-strapped Marussia and Caterham squads have not travelled to America.
Vettel has used his allocation of five power units for the season with the Red Bull driver requiring an engine change ahead of this weekend’s grand prix.
The penalty for an entire engine change outside of the permitted allocation is to start the race from the pit-lane.
As a result, Vettel has suggested he would not risk putting any unnecessary mileage on a new engine in qualifying when he will be forced to start the 17th round of the season from the pit-lane.
With Marussia the latest team to confirm they have gone into administration just days after fellow minnows Caterham F1 announced a similar fate and now Vettel’s concerns, it appears only 17 cars will take part in qualifying.
This weekend’s race in Austin will see just 18 cars make the grid, which is the lowest since the Monaco Grand Prix in 2005.
“It looks like it will happen in Austin,” said Vettel.
“The rule is of course completely stupid. So the people turn on the television and see a driver who just stands around and has nothing to do. What does that mean?
“There is no point in going out for qualifying when you have to start from the pit lane anyway. Have you perhaps a few suggestions on how I could spend Saturday afternoon in Austin?”
Meanwhile, Marussia has released a statement confirming its current situation with the Banbury-based outfit stating participation in the remaining two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi will depend on securing new investment.
“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,” read the statement.
“No redundancies have been made following the company’s entering into administration and all staff have been paid in full to the end of October. The ongoing staff position will however be dependent on whether the company can secure new investment in the limited time available.
“We remain highly focused on engaging with interested parties.”
Administrators at Caterham F1 are also searching for a new buyer after being placed into administrator following a dispute between Tony Fernandes and new owners Engavest SA.
It is unclear at this stage if the team will return for the final two races.