Date: 29th April 2013 at 1:57pm
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The battle at the back of the Formula One grid was always intense.

The scenes when Caterham stole tenth place in the Formula One constructors championship from Marussia last season was every bit as dramatic as the fight at the front end of the grid.

Not necessarily in terms of on track action, the knock on effect of what that result actually meant for the only two surviving newbie teams on the grid.

It’s been a harsh wilderness for the newbie teams, all three went through name changes, Lotus evolving into Caterham, Virgin changing to Marussia and Hispania’s rename to HRT before slipping into liquidation.

The loss of tenth place in the constructors championship last season cost Marussia somewhere in the region of $10million in prize money, which equates to around a third of their overall budget.

The two teams even held winter talks over the possibility of a merger, with Marussia yet to sign a commercial deal for 2013.

But things are only going to get harsher at the back of the grid as Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has announced that from now on, only the top ten constructors will receive any prize money, leaving that wooden spoon winners with absolutely nothing.

[Marussia] don’t have a commercial agreement because they are not in the top ten, We pay the top ten, that’s what we do. For three years we did something different because we had an agreement with Max [Mosley, former FIA president who introduced the newbie teams] but from now on we will pay the top ten and that is it.’

It’s certainly news that makes Bernie happy and if Marussia perhaps felt a little bit paranoid that they weren’t really wanted in the sport, well they’d be right as back in December Bernie famously said: ‘I’d rather have ten, I never wanted 12.

‘It’s just that ten is easier to handle, for the promoters, for transport. We’d rather have ten – so long as we don’t lose Ferrari.’

Perhaps those talks of a merger will take off again come the end of the season?