They’re dropping like flies at the Australian Grand Prix, and that’s before the race even starts.

With neither Manor Marussia qualifying and Valtteri Bottas being forced to withdraw from the race after injuring his back in qualifying, we were set for a 17-car field to take the start.

That has now been trimmed to 15 cars, with the Honda engine in Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren expiring as he was halfway around his out-lap.

Moments later, Daniil Kvyat skated off the track at Turn 3 with a downshift problem. The Russian tried to limp his way back the pits, but his RB11 ran out of drive on the approach to the penultimate corner.

Aside from the farcical six-car Grand Prix at Indianapolis in 2005, this will be the smallest starting grid since the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix, all FOCA-aligned teams withdrew in protest and just 14 cars were entered, 13 managed to qualify, and 12 took the start.

Image via Red Bull Racing

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.