The economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis should be a “final warning” for a Formula 1 team that is ” not healthy and not sustainable”, McLaren’s main team Andreas Seidl said on Wednesday.
“I think that the crisis we are going through is the last warning for a sport that was not healthy and not sustainable before and has now reached a point where we need drastic changes,” the German said at a online press briefing.
These statements come as McLaren calls for the budget ceiling for the teams from next season to be reduced from $175 million to $100 million (around €160 million to €90 million).
“The most important thing is to take this next big step, which we believe is absolutely necessary in view of all the financial losses we will face this year,” the boss pleaded on the eve of another meeting between F1, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and the ten teams.
While he sees “no sign that F1 may no longer exist next year”, Seidl is concerned that “there is a risk of losing teams if we don’t act now”.
“If we make the right decisions, Formula One could be more sustainable in the future and healthier than it has been in recent years,” he continues. “Ultimately, this should help to improve the sport and the spectacle, which is in the interest of everyone and the fans.
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The former Porsche endurance driver also believes that it is “too early” to have any idea of when the factory or Grand Prix business will resume, nor of the extent of the losses his team will suffer.
As a cost-saving measure, F1 is currently undergoing an early and extended summer break and the technical regulation change planned for 2021 has been postponed to 2022, meaning that the cars will be the same next season.
The budget ceiling planned for 2021 “will be lowered”, the president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), Jean Todt, said on the 9th April, agreeing that “motor racing, starting with F1, is too expensive”.
The first nine GPs of 2020 have been cancelled (Australia, Monaco) or postponed sine die (Bahrain, China, Vietnam, Netherlands, Spain, Azerbaijan, Canada) and the following rounds, starting with France on June 28th and Belgium on August 30th, are on hold.