The pandemic caused by COVID-19 is threatening all kinds of factories and oganizations, Formula 1 included.
The 2020 F1 season is still uncertain, as eight of the first nine races have been postponed (Monaco has been cancelled), and it is still unknown whether the season will start, and where. Different options are on the table and are being discussed between Liberty Media and team principals, but the idea is to start with two consecutive race weekends at the Red Bull Ring, Austria, at the start of July, followed by two races at Silverstone, both events behind closed doors.
Obviously, Formula 1 is not made of just sport: it is about lots of million dollars, all spent to create the best technology on a car, the most spectacular show and to bring it all around the world.
As news already reported, F1 bosses are already discussing about a budget cap for 2021. Last October, a cap of $175m (£137.9m) was agreed as in the rules, but teams agreed informally to lower it to $150m. The debates are still going on, as teams are considering to reduce it further in order to help smaller teams.
Mattia Binotto, Ferrari's Team Principal, explained his point of viewin an interview to the english newspaper The Gardian, which misinterpreted the boss' words, saying that Ferrari might want to leave the circus with this conditions.
You can read Mattia Binotto statements here:
Ferrari shortly clarified his team principal words:
"He never mentioned Scuderia Ferrari quitting F1," Ferrari said. "On the contrary, he said that we would not want to be put in a position of having to look at further options, besides continuing racing in F1, for deploying our racing DNA, in case the budget cap would be even more drastically reduced, putting at risk hundreds of workplaces."
Surely, Formula 1 is not made just of 20 drivers and 20 cars, there is a lot more behind it: a tremendous amount of work done by a lot of people. F1 teams are experiencing the same situations as every factory around the world, in this paricular moment, and this means a lot of work places at risk. Also, it is already difficult for smaller teams to survive in the shark fight F1 is.
Zak Brown, McLaren Racing chief executive, commented Binotto words saying Ferrari "is living in denial".
"To not hurry to address what is going on is a critical mistake" he added.
McLaren said that they would also accept a $100m budget cap, as a F1 team has also other outgoings, such as driver and top executive salaries and engine costs that push it many millions higher.
A lower budget cap would dumbthe sports down, but at the same time, small teams can be threatened by this situation, as well as the entire circus.
"If F1 goes by its old habits we are all at extreme risk for the future of F1," Brown continued "but if we think forward and get with the times, we cannot only survive what's going on right now but the sport can thrive and we all win.
"I am all for a good healthy debate, but the comments I've seen being put forward don't stack up, contradict themselves and don't accurately reflect what I think is reality."
The McLaren boss also said that $100m or $125m are still "a tremendous amount of money" and F1 would still remain on the highest technological level.
Some teams already received advances on their prize money payments, as said by Greg Maffei, Liberty president and chief executive officer.
"We want to make sure that teams are solvent because they are part of what we need to race successfully in 2020, 2021, and beyond." Maffei said.
The biggest goal, as today, is to keep the Formula 1 universe alive, with all ten teams.
"I think the appetite for F1, closed doors or not, and sport in general will be awesome" Brown continued. "But if we end up having no F1 this year, the financial consequences for F1 and the teams would be devastating, just as it would be for any industry shut down for a year and then we would need an additional rethink or solution".
Formula 1 needs to restart soon: with lower budget cap or not, the circus can't stop.