Coronavirus pandemic is 'final wake-up call' for Formula One, says McLaren boss

Motorsport legend Mario Andretti speaks to Patrick Snell about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting his birth country of Italy and one of the sports that brought him fame, Formula One.

Posted: Apr 17, 2020 6:00 AM
Updated: Apr 17, 2020 6:00 AM

The coronavirus pandemic is a "final wake-up call" for Formula One, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has warned.

The crisis has caused the start of the season -- initially set to begin in March -- to be delayed, with the Canadian Grand Prix recently becoming the ninth race to be either postponed or canceled.

Speaking to reporters on a video conference call on Wednesday, Seidl said the sport risked losing teams unless changes were made.

"It's not just the fear, I think it's reality," he said, as reported by Reuters. "There's a big risk that we could lose teams through this crisis.

"I think the crisis we are in now is, let's say, the final wake-up call ... the sport which was unhealthy before and not sustainable has now reached a point where we need big changes, drastic changes."

"I don't see any signs that Formula One will not exist in the next year," he added. "The biggest risk that I see is that we will lose teams if we don't take decisive actions now."

READ: Motorsport world pays tribute to 'racing legend' Stirling Moss

READ: 2020 F1 season could start behind closed doors, says Ross Brawn

Amid much confusion, the season opener in Australia was eventually canceled last month after a member of the McLaren team tested positive for coronavirus.

The Monaco Grand Prix -- the jewel in the crown of the F1 season -- has also been canceled and a further seven races postponed.

Formula One rules stipulate that a minimum of eight races must be held for a season to be classified as a world championship.

With the season on hold, McLaren -- along with four other British-based teams -- has opted to furlough a number of its workforce and use a UK government job scheme that pays employees placed on temporary leave 80% of their wages, to a maximum of £2,500 a month ($3,122).

Formula One has also temporarily furloughed half of its employees, it was announced on April 7, and its directors and executives -- including chief executive Chase Carey -- have taken a voluntary 20% pay cut.

The cancellations and posponements have already hit teams hard, with most of their revenues coming from broadcasting deals, race hosting fees and sponsorship, reports Reuters.

Teams have already agreed to a $150 million budget cap for the 2021 season in an attempt to level the playing field, but Seidl is in favor of a further reduction to $100 million.

"It's important to make now big decisions, to make another big step in terms of the level of the budget cap of the future," said Seidl.

"We think it's absolutely important now with all the financial losses that we will face this year, the magnitude of which is still unknown.

"I think $100 million is a good number to run a Formula One team in the way we want to see Formula One."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2707049

Reported Deaths: 57343
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings34831910956
Queens32527210405
Suffolk2532123673
Nassau2243793326
Bronx2127096803
New York1757714661
Westchester1475492354
Erie1228872028
Monroe964171244
Richmond922471967
Orange61633944
Onondaga58795808
Rockland55201782
Dutchess37697507
Albany34056409
Oneida32768634
Niagara28265414
Broome27944432
Saratoga24180222
Schenectady19131243
Ulster18865288
Rensselaer17147192
Chautauqua14703189
Oswego13956132
Putnam13055101
Chemung12691174
St. Lawrence12634143
Steuben12268187
Ontario11499118
Jefferson11123105
Wayne10020101
Cattaraugus9824154
Cayuga9618112
Sullivan944390
Genesee8495143
Herkimer8165141
Clinton795346
Fulton7719109
Tompkins734161
Madison7246108
Warren713194
Livingston707975
Montgomery7073159
Washington652376
Tioga627473
Cortland604088
Allegany5896119
Columbia5617113
Chenango547995
Orleans539095
Franklin529125
Otsego527861
Wyoming519964
Greene487788
Delaware430151
Lewis414539
Seneca317167
Essex294637
Schoharie262324
Yates196733
Schuyler190020
Hamilton5103
Unassigned1422
Out of NY0336
Utica
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 23°
Oneonta
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 16°
Herkimer
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 23°
Old Forge
Mostly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 23°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Game Day Deals - New Deals Each Week
Stuff the Bus Locations
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve