Those teams, according to F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone in speaking with Reuters, are Caterham and Marussia – two backmarker teams that are struggling financially. On the back of an ownership dispute, the Caterham team has gone into bankruptcy administration and its new management team has stepped down. The future isn't looking much brighter for Marussia either, which withdrew one of its cars from the Russian Grand Prix after its driver Jules Bianchi was critically injured in a crash in Japan.
Since neither team will ship their cars alongside their competitors to Texas for the race, the likelihood is that they'll miss the following race in Brazil as well, since the rest of the circus will sail south to Sao Paulo straight from Austin. That would leave just the year-end Abu Dhabi Grand Prix before the season winds to a close. Although the regulations call for some teams to run a third car in the event that the grid drops below 20, the FIA has ruled out the proposition for the end of this season, particularly because there is not enough time to give those leading teams the required 60-days' advance notice.
Marussia's absence from the USGP dashes any hope of the team's reserve driver, Alexander Rossi of California, getting his race debut in front of his home crowd. The 18-car grid that will race in Austin will be the smallest since the tire scandal at the 2005 US Grand Prix at Indianapolis saw only six cars (those running Bridgestone rubber) compete.
After five years on the grid (initially under the Virgin Racing moniker), Marussia scored its first two championship points this season when Bianchi finished the Monaco Grand Prix in ninth place. Caterham has yet to score a single point in the same span of five years.