Marussia Manor Racing has pulled its GP3 squad out of this weekend's competition, meaning that drivers Dean Stoneman, Patrick Kujala and Ryan Cullen will not be taking part in the penultimate round of the 3014 championship.

The team was quick to emphasise that the decision not to take part in GP3's maiden outing at the brand new Russian circuit was not related to what had happened on Sunday, when Jules Bianchi incurred a serious head injury while racing for the parent Marussia F1 team at Suzuka.

Instead, a press announcement from the Banbury-based team said that the decision not to race in Sochi had been forced on them by unspecified commercial reasons.

Related Articles

"The team would like to praise the hard work and dedication of the Manor Motorsport staff, who run the racing operations of the Marussia Manor Racing GP3 team," the press statement added, also praising the efforts to date of its three talented young drivers.

"That Marussia Manor Racing GP3 currently lies in fifth place in the GP3 Series standings, and only recently celebrated its third win of the season, in Monza on 7 September, makes this withdrawal all the more difficult for the team," the statement continued.

"Marussia Manor Racing GP3 would also like to thank the organisers of the GP3 Series, and the wider GP3 community, for their continued support."

The team is currently in fifth place in the GP3 Series standings, with Dean Stoneman the most recent race winner in the series after claiming victory in the second race at Monza on Sunday September 7 to add to his two previous successes of the year at Barcelona and Spa.

As a result of his efforts to date, Stoneman is currently in eighth place in the GP3 drivers' championship on 95 points, while Kujala is in 13th place in the standings. Cullen is yet to finish in the points in his second season in the series.

It's unknown whether the squad and its trio of drivers will be able to appear in the final round of the season on November in Abu Dhabi. The team said that a decision regarding their participation in that event will be taken in due course.

The team apparently made the decision to pull out of Sochi before the deadline for freighting the team's cars and equipment to Russia, which expired last Thursday.

That means the decision was taken before the F1 Japanese Grand Prix, and Bianchi's major accident at the end of the race on Sunday afternoon, so that the call not to race had not been influenced by what had happened there.

"As part of the Marussia racing family, the GP3 team does however share the concern of the Marussia F1 Team and the whole international motor sport community for Jules Bianchi," the team added.