Lowering the budget cap appears to be the most sensible solution amid the Coronavirus crisis, currently plaguing the financial aspect of F1. With racing at a standstill, F1 teams are facing countless headaches as for furloughs, pay cuts and further losses of income, as events are being called off until mid-June.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes a reduction in the budget cap might save the future of four teams that could find themselves in dire straits at the end of the year. In fact, no potential buyers would be able to afford stepping in and saving their future.
A rather concerning scenario would picture a decimated grid if the financial crisis that has just started upsetting the F1 world is poorly handled. Brown describes the situation as potentially worse and more invasive than it was in 2008-2009.
“This is potentially devastating to teams" Brown told BBC Sport. "And if it is to enough teams, which doesn't have to mean more than two, then very threatening to F1 as a whole. Could I see - through what is going on right now in the world if we don't tackle this situation head on very aggressively - two teams disappearing? Yeah. In fact, I could see four teams disappearing if this isn't handled the right way”.
"And then, given how long it takes to ramp up an F1 team, and given the economic and health crisis we are in right now, to think there would be people lined up to take over those teams like there has historically been... I don't think the timing could be worse from that standpoint.
"So I think F1 is in a very fragile state at the moment."
Prior to Zak Brown’s warning, Motorsport UK chairman David Richards put everyone on notice, as at least two teams could be walking out of the Coronavirus crisis heavily defeated. Obviously midfield teams are pushing for a substantial reduction in the budget cap, even down to $100m, but top teams are determined to have the upper hand in this bureaucratic fight which would see the initial cost cap of $175m hit $150m.
"We currently have 10 teams, 20 cars on the grid. Not too long ago after the financial crisis we had 18 cars.
"I think that's about the limit, so in reality, we could probably afford to lose one. Two becomes the red zone, and I think three we have very, very substantial problems."
"You have everyone at $150m, and the strong majority - including one of the big teams - willing to come substantially under $150m.
"If we don't make an aggressive enough budget cap and some people feel they have to top up this year and have no chance of getting it back, then they ask themselves: Why are they in it?
"I don't think anyone competes in F1 just to make up the numbers."
A conference call is set to take place on Monday April 6th between FIA President Jean Todt and Chase Carey regarding the fate of the budget cap, in which striking a compromise somewhere in the middle between the demands of top and midfield teams might also be an option.