Sports

Financial troubles dogging F1 before American race when series trying to expand US footprint

  • Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, of Germany, drives through the course during the first practice session for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, of Germany, drives through the course during the first practice session for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)  (The Associated Press)

  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, pulls out of the garage during the first practice session for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, pulls out of the garage during the first practice session for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)  (The Associated Press)

  • A crew member works on the car of Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, of Australia, during the first practice session for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

    A crew member works on the car of Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, of Australia, during the first practice session for the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)  (The Associated Press)

Formula One's third year back at the U.S. Grand Prix in Texas should be a solid benchmark for expanding the series' footprint in a rich but largely untapped market for fans and money.

Looking inward, F1 has some troubles.

Two teams, Marussia and Caterham, won't race in Austin because of financial problems. That leaves Sunday's race with just 18 cars, F1's smallest starting grid in nearly a decade, prompting new warnings from the sport's governing body to control costs.

In three seasons, Caterham had failed to win a single point and Marussia's grand total is two. At the Circuit of the Americas, there's no sign the teams even exist. One garage sits empty while another has been taken over by tire supplier Pirelli.