GOOD TO GO: Force India has saved itself from getting teh chop for the US GP by paying its bills ahead of the race this weekend. Image: AP / Pavel Golovkin
LONDON, England - Force India has avoided becoming the third Formula 1 team to drop out of this weekend's US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Other backmarkers Caterham and Marussia, each now under administration, will miss not only Austin but also the penultimate round of the 2014 F1 championship a week later in Brazil.
Former International Automobile Federation president Max Mosley, who for years has warned that smaller teams were in danger of collapse, predicted on Monday that Caterham and Marussia "may not be the last" struggling private teams to go out of business.
WHO WILL BE NEXT?
Force India deputy boss Bob Fernley also declared he was worried as only the biggest five teams were in the decision-making "strategy group". "We'll lose more teams if we carry on like this," he warned.
Fernley's warning came amid reports the Silverstone-based team needed to make an urgent engine payment to engine supplier Mercedes on Monday or risk joining Caterham and Marussia in not racing in Austin but Germany's Auto Motor and Sport now reports that Force India has "removed its neck from the noose" by paying the final engine instalment.
It means the team remains in the battle to catch McLaren for fifth in the F1 Constructors' championship.
According to Auto Motor and Sport, the fifth-placed team will receive the equivalent of R679-million in prize money from Bernie Ecclestone, rather than R646-million for sixth.
QUALIFYING TO BE AMENDED?
Meanwhile, because F1 has shed almost 20% of its grid in the space of mere weeks, the federation looks set to tweak the knock-out qualifying format for Austin and Brazil.
Kevin Eason, a correspondent for The Times in London, wrote: "It is thought that the federation... will have to re-order the three-session qualifying because there are not enough cars - only 17 with (Sebastian) Vettel missing - to go through the usual knockout sequence."
Red Bull's Vettel is expected to sit out qualifying as he takes a penalty for using his unscheduled sixth Renault engine of the 2014 season.Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 US GP this weekend.