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Formula 1

Ferrari: F1’s DNA at risk if crisis response is emotional

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says Formula 1’s cost-saving measures in response to the global health crisis need to be made without “emotion” to maintain the championship’s competitive “DNA”.

F1 and its teams face a huge revenue drop because of the 2020 season’s coronavirus-enforced chaos, which has prompted action to be taken to cut costs short-term, including a lengthy shutdown period for teams and engine manufacturers and delaying new technical rules.

Most teams are also in favour of reducing F1’s incoming 2021 budget cap from the planned $175m limit, but Ferrari is wary of enforcing the same low limit on all teams on the grounds that bigger manufacturers incur bigger costs because of what they supply to rivals.

Team principal Binotto says it is not an ideal time to be making major decisions about F1’s future – but as a long-term view is needed, it is important “we are taking the proper decision, with proper priorities, but we should avoid simply acting on an emotional basis”.

“There is still analysis required to make the right decisions,” Binotto told Sky Sports F1. “I think we should avoid really to be emotional at the moment.

“We know that we will face difficult situations but we need as well to somehow maintain the DNA, the essence of F1, which is competition.

“We should not forget what F1 and motorsport is about. It’s important to look at all the details but make a rational decision, which has been really based on considerations, not emotions.”

McLaren has suggested a budget cap of $100m instead, with a compromise thought possibly at round $130m. The team’s racing boss Zak Brown even claimed several teams could disappear from the grid if aggressive action is not taken.

“Certainly it’s a concern,” Binotto said. “We are fully aware of the difficulties of some teams. We are fully aware that we need to address costs for the future of F1.

“Reducing costs is the first driver of making each single team survive.”

Referencing the two-tier budget cap he has proposed during F1’s crisis meetings, Binotto said that a pragmatic approach would be to restrict costs based on each team’s business model.

Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull design and manufacture components that are sold to smaller teams, with some like Haas and AlphaTauri taking everything the rules allow and others, like Racing Point, taking a smaller variety of parts.

“When discussing a budget cap we should not forget that we’ve got different situations,” said Binotto. “It’s important that we find a common ground, which is suited to the different situations, and maybe the answer is not a single budget cap equal for all the teams.”

As well as major off-track decisions regarding F1’s short and medium-term future, the championship is waiting for the health crisis to settle so it can begin its 2020 season.

The first nine rounds of the 2020 campaign have been postponed or cancelled, with the first scheduled date now the French Grand Prix at the end of June.

Binotto said Ferrari would be as “flexible” as possible to facilitate whatever schedule F1 and the FIA are able to put together, including facilitate two-day weekends and more than one race at the same circuit.

“From our side, it is really whatever is needed: short race weekend, double races, whenever it will finish, packing all the races together.

“Whatever it will be, it’s important to be flexible.”

One proposal is for F1 to hold races at the start of 2021 to complete the 2020 season, and while Binotto does not think it will necessarily run into January or February next year he reiterated that Ferrari will do what is required.

“We are prepared for it, so in case that will be the choice, we will support it,” he said.

“I’m not sure that will be the case but whatever will be, I think it’s important from our side to be supportive and making sure that we will do whatever is necessary.”

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