Marussia hinted that "commercial" factors had forced a change in plans after the announcement that Timo Glock is leaving the team.
A statement issued by the team on Monday morning suggested that the tough economic conditions that F1 teams were experiencing at the moment meant it could no longer afford the luxury of paying an experienced driver.
Team principal John Booth said: "Timo has made a very significant contribution to our team over the past three seasons, helping us to develop our package to the point where, for a large proportion of the 2012 season, we were holding 10th place in the constructors' championship.
"Timo is a fantastic driver and he has been a very popular member of the team. Our team was founded on the principle of benefiting from proven experience while also providing opportunities for young emerging talent to progress to the pinnacle of motorsport. Thus far, this philosophy has also been reflected in our commercial model.
"The ongoing challenges facing the industry mean that we have had to take steps to secure our long-term future. Tough economic conditions prevail and the commercial landscape is difficult for everyone, Formula 1 teams included.
"We would like to thank Timo for working with us to reach this decision, especially as he had a valid contract, and also for the contribution he has made to our team. We wish him all the best for his future and I would like to congratulate the next team acquiring the services of such a competitive, professional and experienced racer.
"We will provide an update regarding the completion of our driver line-up in due course."
Marussia had looked set for a commercial boost when it grabbed tenth place in the constructors' championship off Caterham at the Singapore Grand Prix.
However, it lost that position in the final race of the season when Vitaly Petrov took 11th place at Interlagos for its Leafield-based rivals.
Amid an increasingly tough commercial background, Marussia is now likely to seek out a well-sponsored driver for its second seat alongside Max Chilton.
A number of names have already been linked with the outfit, including Petrov, Bruno Senna, Luiz Razia and Sebastien Buemi.
Glock's chances of staying in F1 appear limited, with Force India the only outfit that appears able to provide a seat without the need for a driver to bring commercial support.
A more likely future for Glock is in the DTM, where he could link up with BMW.
Speaking about the situation, Glock said: "I have had three excellent years with the Marussia F1 team, during which I had the chance to actively participate in building and developing the team in its endeavours to succeed within the Formula 1 world championship.
"I would like to wish the team good luck in navigating this next period and thank everyone for the great times we shared and the support I have received.
"Although it is not the path I expected to be taking, I am in fact very excited about what the future holds in terms of my own career and I hope to comment on that very soon."