The coronavirus pandemic has plunged Formula One into "a very fragile state", warning that as many as four teams could even be driven out of business (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
McLaren boss Zak Brown said that the coronavirus pandemic has plunged Formula One into "a very fragile state", warning that as many as four teams could even be driven out of business. The 2020 world championship has been unable to start with eight races of a scheduled 22 already either scrapped or postponed. "This is potentially devastating to teams, and if (it is devastating) to enough teams then it's very threatening to F1 as a whole," Brown told the BBC on the eve of a meeting planned to discuss cost-cutting in the sport. Brown insisted that all the teams have agreed to lower the 2021 budget cap to USD 150m down from USD 175 million. However, he said the ceiling needs to be reduced further to counter the financial fall-out from the virus-hit season.
"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," said Brown. "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."
Bernie Ecclestone says this season's Formula One championship should be cancelled because it appears unlikely that enough races can be completed for it to be valid due to the coronavirus crisis. The opening eight rounds of the 2020 season have been either cancelled or postponed, with doubts over a number of the other 14 races as the pandemic continues to overshadow the sporting calendar. A minimum of eight races are required for the championship to be valid, but former F1 chief executive Ecclestone believes that will not be possible.
It appears unlikely that enough races can be completed for it to be valid due to the coronavirus crisis. (Image credit: Getty Images)
"We should stop the championship this year and start again next year, hopefully, because I can't see it's going to be possible to get the right amount of races in that count for a championship," the 89-year-old told BBC Radio. "There's got to be eight from memory, and I can't see them getting that in. It's a difficult situation." Lewis Hamilton was this year aiming to match Michael Schumacher's record of seven drivers' titles, though there have been suggestions a truncated season would diminish the achievement.
But Ecclestone, set to become a father for the fourth time, said: "I don't think it will make a lot of difference to Lewis. He would win whatever the race number, whether it be eight, 16 or 20. If it's a world championship and he wins, it would go on his record and say he has won a world championship. The terrible thing is he would win all eight races. It wouldn't be a super championship."