F1 is going through difficult financial times, with just 10 teams completing last year and several struggling to raise funding for the 2003 season, which starts in Australia in March.
Jordan, British American Racing and Minardi have all shed staff in the past year while Arrows are fighting to stay alive with a much-depleted workforce. The Prost team went bankrupt at the start of the year.
Jaguar, despite hefty backing from US car giant Ford, have underperformed since their F1 debut in 2000 and finished last season seventh overall. They have announced a new and far cheaper line-up next year with Australian Mark Webber and Brazilian newcomer Antonio Pizzonia replacing Eddie Irvine and Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa.
F1 president Max Mosley warned recently that the 2003 starting grid could be limited to just 20 cars due to the financial problems. "It would be nice to have 22 cars, but I think 20 is more probable," he said. "That's not necessarily because of Arrows but because there is another team or two that are not 100% in good shape."