Andreas Seidl, Toto Wolff, Christian Horner, Otmar Szafnauer, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

British F1 teams prepared for “harm” if Brexit goes ahead

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams are braced for the “potential impact” if Britain leaves the European Union amid continuing uncertainty over ‘Brexit’.

The British government originally said the country would leave the EU on March 31st this year, but the deadline was postponed to the end of the month after it was unable to agree a deal. Last week the EU agreed a further extension to that deadline, potentially as far as the end of January next year.

All bar two of F1’s teams – Ferrari and Alfa Romeo – have at least part of their F1 base inside the UK. They face potential disruption if Britain leaves the customs union with Europe it would delay the passage of their freight between Britain’s borders and other EU countries, where several rounds on the 2020 F1 calendar plus all of pre-season testing will be held.

Toto Wolff, team principal of Mercedes, whose entire F1 operation is based in the UK, said teams “need to prepare, as any other company out there, for potential impact” if Britain’s departure from the EU goes ahead.

“It’s clear that it will harm us in a way because our businesses live with the ‘just in time’ concept of product supplies,” he added.

“But we are going to get our head around it. As a team, we put a lot of effort into understanding what the potential impact could be and we are ready for whatsoever outcome.”

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Teams remain unclear when Britain may leave the EU and whether it will do so with new trading arrangements in place. If it fails to agree a deal and a ‘no-deal Brexit’ goes ahead, government documents leaked in August indicate it expects queues lasting two-and-a-half days at British ports.

Another entirely UK-based team, Racing Point, is “planning for the worst case, the worst case being a no-deal Brexit”, said CEO Otmar Szafnauer.

“I think we’ve put some plans in place to cope with that and we’re hoping for the best case.

“Only time will tell. But I think we’re well prepared to keep going if Brexit does happen sooner rather than later and there is no deal.”

Brexit could also affect the rights of teams’ European staff who are based in the UK. Andreas Seidl, the German team principal of British team McLaren, said he’s “got the guarantee that I can stay at least, whatever happens.”

“As a team we simply did our homework and prepared for every possible scenario which is on the horizon,” he added. “I’m sure whatever happens in the next weeks and months there will be solutions in place and we will keep going racing.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “British F1 teams prepared for “harm” if Brexit goes ahead”

  1. Does it make sense for European, Canadian or US companies to keep investing in their operations in a country that voluntarily makes working, travel, and logistics worse for all involved, while holding a single three-day event?

    1. We don’t know for sure that it will! Extra paperwork etc yes. The end of the world? Nah.

      Can everyone please stop panicking over that word (I refuse to use the stupid b word). Panicking is what the EU has banked on from day one and used it against us

      Anyway preperation is good. Harm is yet to be realised. Stock piling 3 times it looks like now is costly.

      1. It’s already done a huge amount of harm to the UK economy. We’ll see how much more harm it does if it ever happens.

  2. As Westminster could not agree on what to order for lunch at the moment, nevermind the future of the country, my money would be on the UK remaining in the EU. F1 has far reaching concerns, than of the decision of a few ageing crustations in London.

  3. Thank G-d for the EU! Without it Formula One would never have been.

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