So says a story in England's Daily Mail.
According to a story by British journalist Christian Sylt, the top writer regarding the business of Formula One, series chief Bernie Ecclestone said that Formula One's teams have "signed contracts agreeing to help competitors which get into financial trouble by supplying a car to them," said the story in Britian's Daily Mail.
Sylt also revealed that the Marussia team has notified London's High Court that it intends to go into administration, following the collapse earlier this week of the Caterham team.
Writes Sylt: "Eleventh hour talks are underway to save it, and Ecclestone says another team may have to step in by supplying it with a car. The controversial rule is written into the teams' contracts with Ecclestone and it forces them to field a third car if the grid slips below a threshold of 20 cars."
Red Bull helping Caterham?
He quotes Ecclestone as saying that a strong team "would supply a third car to someone else so if, for example, Sauber disappeared, a team could do a deal with Sauber. 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."
Apparently contracts with race promoters states that Formula One "shall use its reasonable endeavours to ensure...that at least sixteen cars participate in the Event."
Sylt and the Daily Mail report that Marussia has lost 140.6 million pounds since joining F1 in 2010, which must be a cautionary revelation to those who propose to enter the series, such as U.S. businessman Gene Haas. Ecclestone says that Marussia and Caterham are expected to miss next week's race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, dropping the grid to 18 cars, but apparently teams are allowed to miss up to two races without triggering the "share your cars" clause in the contracts.