Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Why Coronavirus could cost some teams more than others

2020 F1 season

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The financial impact of races being cancelled due to the Coronavirus would be higher for some Formula 1 teams than others.

The Chinese Grand Prix, which was due to take place on April 19th, has already been postponed due to the virus. The race has not been rescheduled, though Formula 1 is trying to find ways to fit it into the final weeks of this year’s championship.

The sport is also pressing ahead with plans to hold its season-opening race at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia next week. The race is due to be followed one week later by the Bahrain Grand Prix and Vietnam’s first world championship event two weeks after that.

But many other motor sport championships have already postponed or cancelled races due to the spread of the Coronavirus, and other sports have been affected as well.

Formula 1 Management pays teams a share of the revenues from races, which would fall if one or more races cannot go ahead. But Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams pointed out teams will also make some savings if races are cancelled.

“It depends how many races it affects,” she said in response to a question from RaceFans. “Obviously at the moment it’s affecting China and really for the income that would bring in, it’s manageable. It’s not negligible, but it’s manageable.

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“Also there’s a counter to that in that there’s potentially less opportunity for race attrition [car damage]. So if you add potential race attrition, the cost of that and manufacturing, it could potentially balance it out. And travel as well, we haven’t booked a lot of hotels, flights, et cetera.

Claire Williams, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
‘If we lose more race clearly that’s going to be a problem’
“But I think if we ended up losing more races off the calendar, then clearly that’s going to be a problem not just for us, but for all the teams up and down the paddock. But that’s not the point that we’re at at the moment and we have to wait and see as we get the direction from FOM as and when it comes.”

The importance of FOM payments to team’s budgets varies up and down the grid. RaceFans’ most recent analysis of teams’ budgets indicated almost half of Williams’ income came from FOM.

Asked by RaceFans whether she thought Williams would be one of the worst-hit teams if FOM incomes fell due to Coronavirus, she said: “I’m sure we would be.”

Australia today introduced “enhanced health screening measures” for visitors arriving from Italy, which has seen the highest number of Coronavirus infections in Europe. However it has not imposed a ban on travel from the country, which is home to Ferrari, AlphaTauri and others intending to travel to Melbourne.

Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn said earlier this week F1 will not hold championship rounds if some teams are unable to attend races due to the Coronavirus.

The Automobile Club de L’Ouest, organisers of the Le Mans 24 Hours, said today they are “confident” that race will go ahead as planned on June 13th-14th. “However, should it be necessary to do so, we will reschedule events later in the year,” they added.

Major races postponed or cancelled due to Coronavirus

March 6 – March 8Moto GPQatar Grand PrixLosail International CircuitQatar
March 13 – March 15World SuperbikesQatarLosail International CircuitQatar
March 21 – March 21Formula ESanya EPrixSanyaChina
March 20 – March 22Moto GPThailand Grand PrixBuriram International CircuitThailand
March 21 – March 22Super TaikyuRound oneSuzukaJapan
April 4 – April 5Super FormulaRound oneSuzukaJapan
April 17 – April 19Formula 1Chinese Grand PrixShanghai International CircuitChina
April 17 – April 19Porsche Carrera Cup AsiaShanghai roundShanghai International CircuitChina
April 17 – April 19Chinese Formula FourShanghai roundShanghai International CircuitChina

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2020 F1 season

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 14 comments on “Why Coronavirus could cost some teams more than others”

    1. Ferrari are in a world of pain now. Italy is under quarantine, FIA did a blunder with their deal and the car is slow.

      Best wishes for them.

      1. Actually its a good thing for Ferrari and Toro Rosso they can work on 2021 cars now that they have free time on hand with quarantines.

    2. I find quite fun that in the end F1 will race in cities by far more risky than Shanghai at this moment. Never mind on april.

      1. That’s if you believe Shanghai has had less infections than Milan which is ridiculous.

        1. Well, from official Chinese news, in Shanghai are actually 39 people infected from a cumulative total of 339 since the coronavirus spread. I do not know if that is true or not anyway.

          1. China has a history of fiddling the figures to protect their reputation or cover up poor economic results. Also there is a growing suspicion that China has put considerable pressure on the WHO (China is a member) not to declare a pandemic.

            1. @johnrkh Déclaration of a “pandemic” by the WHO brings forward a raft of issues and measures that go well beyond where we are at right now. That China has unduly pressured the WHO and that they have bent over to be nice to the dictatorship is without doubt and is disgraceful. But declaration of a pandemic is serious sh&t. Have a look at the WHO website for details of pandemic response.

            2. @thecollaroyboys

              That China has unduly pressured the WHO and that they have bent over to be nice to the dictatorship is without doubt and is disgraceful.

              I didn’t say bent over I said placed considerable pressure. Just like they have put pressure and paid bribes for pacific Island nations to change their diplomatic stance by deserting Taiwan and switching their allegiance to the PRC. Or the fact that put pressure on the EU and anyone else who mentions Tibet or the situation with the Uyghurs.

              . But declaration of a pandemic is serious sh&t.

              I think that goes back to why China would not want a pandemic declared.

        2. Anon, they’re not racing in Milan, and they’re not racing anywhere near Milan until September (by which time things will be considerably more settled, one way or another). I’m not sure any city F1 plans to race at is riskier at the point expected than Shanghai, because that would require a crystal ball. In any case, large gatherings are banned in China at the moment, so even if there was no coronavirus, F1 still couldn’t race there unless that was reversed.

        3. Currently Italy has more infections per head of population than China does. Italy has around 63.7 infections per million people vs China’s 56.1 infections per million population.

    3. One would hope that the “Road” pit crews and ancillary staff will have been quarantined properly (or indeed moved to a safe zone) when all of this started breaking – and one would also hope that once on the road they don’t need to return to an infected area that may cause them to go into quarantine again.

      Tough on folks with families of course . . . but it would be the sensible thing to do.

      Also I expect as things move along there may be interesting flight itinerary diversions as places introduce their own regulations on travellers that have been out of country.

      I pity the people who have to deal with this.

    4. No, I want my super formula!!!

      1. @peartree

        Superformula? Is that a vaccine?

        1. @thecollaroyboys it is a vaccine for a lack of decent racingaitis. It cures ailing for true racing. Side effects, insomnia due to time zone.

    Comments are closed.