The coronavirus has been a big struggle for hundreds or even thousands of events. Football matches, Olympic games, concerts are just a few examples of the events that had to be cancelled or postponed. Now, as you may know, the 2020 Formula 1 season hasn’t even started. Today, we would have had already 4 Grand Prix raced with the fifth one this weekend. But the virus has made that 3 races have called off and 7 have been postponed. For all the fans and even teams, this is a shame because it is the sport that we all love and we haven’t seen it since the first day of December, but for some other, this situation that the world is going through is a perfect scenario to reshape the sport, just what Stefano Domenicali said.
The former Ferrari F1 team principal and now CEO of Lamborghini and president of the FIA single-seater commission, Stefano Domenicali has commented (in an interview with Motorsport.com) that the crisis that F1 is going through is an excellent scenario to reset the sport as a lot of teams are struggling to maintain alive their hopes of being on the highest category of motorsport. We all know that F1, the FIA and Liberty Media are doing their best effort to support and help them, but they also have financial matters to cover.
“The FIA and Liberty [Media] together with teams, I feel that what they are really thinking about the future, they are heading in the right direction. This is a take it or leave it opportunity and you cannot leave it, you need to take it. Otherwise the risk will be very high of it not returning to be the platform it was.” Commented Domenicali.
The Italian also commented that F1 teams leaving the sport is not the only problem that could appear once this is finished. He is also considering the loss of sponsors, circuits, etc due to the tickets that have been already sold for the races that have been postponed or cancelled. “We mustn’t forget that if I look at the number of tickets that were sold for the GPs that were due to take place up to now, they were incredibly high. This was the situation before the crisis and it’s de duty of all the stakeholders to ensure that this kind of attention will be there after the crisis”.
“I think that it would be criminal not to take this opportunity to revisit the points we know we need to improve. Therefore we are really working in these weeks to make sure we can present to the FIA World Council in June, ideas that we are discussing.” Added Domenicali.
The teams have also been thinking about some strategies to reduce costs, such as McLaren’s proposal to reduce the budget cap down to $100m but Ferrari is not willing to accept it as their argument is that the top 3 teams need to spend more money than the mid-field teams so the lowest budget cap that they can agree is no less than $145m. As we’ve already said, Domenicali is the president of the FIA single-seater commission and he is the one in charge of keep making the low categories (F4, F3 and F2) be attractive. “We are thinking of the right decision for F4, F3 and F2 to restart and when this will be possible, what can be done to reduce costs further and to make sure that this ‘formula world’ can be still attractive for the future. We’ll delay the introduction of new updated technology to help keep the teams alive. Everyone is trying to keep the championships alive in the second part of the season, but we also need to identify the cut-off time when we need to concentrate completely on 2021.”
In conclusion, costs are the biggest issue that F1 is presenting. Teams (doesn’t matter if they are from F1 or lower) that don’t have the amount of money that bigger teams have, are seemed to be the ones that are going to struggle the most. As Domenicali said, this can be the situation that a lot of teams and fans were looking for, so the sport is able to be competitive and not only having 3 teams that are able to win.