F1 agree first-ever budget cap to cut costs in wake of coronavirus

Formula One teams must make significant cuts to their budgets in each of the next five seasons after the FIA announced new budget caps on Wednesday.

The first-ever F1 budget cap will come into force next season, set at 145million US dollars (£117million), a significant cut from the initial plan to set the limit at 175million US dollars.

But the FIA did not stop there, announcing the budgets would be cut further to 140million US dollars in 2022, and 135million US dollars for 2023-2025.

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That will require major sacrifices from the leading teams, some of which are reported to have budgets in excess of 200million US dollars.

Last month, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto warned that the Italian giants may consider their future in the sport if the “demanding request” of a further spending cap was introduced.

But it is understood Ferrari are happy with the new agreement, seeing it as the best possible compromise at a time when the coronavirus pandemic puts a further squeeze on team budgets across the sport.

A number of teams have placed staff on furlough at a time when their factories are shut.

McLaren, who will reportedly lose 70 members of staff from their F1 operation after the group announced on Tuesday that 1,200 jobs would be cut, welcomed the news.

“Formula 1 wins today,” chief executive Zak Brown said. “This is a crucially important moment for our sport.

“F1 has been financially unsustainable for some time, and inaction would have risked the future of F1 and its participants, who are to be commended for resolving this issue collectively and determinedly.

“A uniform budget cap, in concert with more even distribution of revenue among the teams, will ensure greater competition and more people wanting to watch live and on TV, driving more sustained revenues to underpin the long-term financial health of the teams and the sport.

“Ultimately the fans win, and if the fans win, the whole sport wins too.”

The FIA’s announcement followed an electronic vote of the World Motor Sport Council, which also approved a number of technical and sporting regulation changes for 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Key to those changes in the short term is a decision which will see manufacturers retain the chassis, gearbox and a number of other components from the curtailed 2020 season – yet to get under way – for next year as well, significantly saving on developmental costs.

The new regulations also include an aerodynamic development handicap based on where teams finish in the championships season.

An FIA statement said the amendments “have received unanimous support amongst the Formula 1 teams and were ratified today by the World Council”.

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