Despite only 18 cars set to line up in Austin, Bernie Ecclestone says the remaining teams do not have to field a third car “at this stage.”
Neither Caterham, who are under administration and seeking a new buyer, nor Marussia, who went into administration on Monday, will take part in this weekend’s United States GP.
With just 18 cars set to line up, there have been questions over whether the remaining teams may be forced to ran a third car.
Ecclestone says that is still some way off.
“We don’t have to introduce a third car at this stage because they can miss a couple of races,” he told the Daily Mail.
“They lose any money they would have got for those races but they don’t lose their position in the championship.
“I have no idea if Marussia are going to make it in the long run. It’s better if they didn’t have to go into administration,” he said prior to Monday’s announcement.
Backmarker teams in trouble, though, could be handed a lifeline by rival outfits due to a clause in the contracts Ecclestone has in place with all the teams.
Those state that teams could supply a troubled rival with their third car thus keeping the numbers above the required 16 cars on the grid.
“They would supply a third car to someone else so if, for example, Sauber disappeared, a team could do a deal with Sauber,” the F1 supremo added.
“Ferrari could say, “we will give you a car, all that goes with it, and we want you to put this sponsor on it. You have your own sponsors but we want you to include this one as well and we want you to take this driver”.
“The team wouldn’t have to go under then would they? If Red Bull decided they would give a car to Caterham for example that could solve their problem.”