• Williams, Haas, Renault could quit F1.
• Covid-19 brought about numerous financial challenges.
• These teams could be bought by new investors.
Formula 1 is in a bit of a pickle because of the global coronavirus pandemic. Like many sporting codes, it too had to implement cost-saving measures to ensure its immediate survival.
From next year onwards, a budget cap will be introduced that will see teams having to complete a full season with only $145 million at their disposal.
This is $30 million less than the original amount set in 2019 – before Covid-19 came into play.
While the budget cap is a good thing, it still leaves some teams in an awkward position with regards to the 2020 season. Though this season is yet to get under way, some have expressed concern that they've lost millions in revenue; most notably television income.
We look at three teams that could fold because of the financial implications brought about by Covid-19.
What measures, do you think, F1 should put in place to ensure the survival of all teams? Email us.
Formula 1 cars. (TeamTalk)
Let's start with the most notable team: Williams.
Williams has been picking up the F1 scraps for several years and is desperately looking to regain a competitive foothold in the sport. Having last won a race in 2012 – eight years since their 2004 victory in Spain – the team has been going backwards at a drastic pace. Earlier this month, Williams announced the team was for sale and they were seriously looking at a change of the guard.
Former Williams driver Ralf Schumacher supported this decision, saying the current management style was not befitting modern F1. It has emerged that several serious offers to purchase the team are on the table, but it remains to be seen if this will save the team from disappearing from F1.
Over the course of 736 F1 races, Williams scored 114 victories, 128 pole positions, 243 podium finishes and nine constructors' championships. Last year, Williams finished the season in dead last.
Williams' 2020 F1 car. (AFP)
Haas F1 Team
Haas is the youngest team on the grid, having joined the sport in 2016. In its debut season, the team performed exceptionally well, but failed to build on their success in the subsequent years. With accident-prone Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen behind the wheel, the duo often cost the team points due to unnecessary mistakes, especially on Grosjean's part.
Having slipped down the pecking order and seeing performance going backwards – despite sharing technical know-how with F1 powerhouse Ferrari – team owner Gene Haas expressed his intention of pulling his team from F1.
Haas believes the performance gap to the top three teams (Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing) is just too big, and he is not prepared to fight in the midfield. With the proposed budget cap coming into play next year, Haas might reconsider. However, Covid-19 and the loss of revenue could see him taking the high road and leaving the sport without incurring any more financial losses.
Kevin Magnussen (left) and Romain Grosjean with team owner, Gene Haas (middle). (Getty Images)
Renault F1 Team
The Renault F1 team has been knocking on the competitiveness door, but can't seem to get an answer. In 2018, they acquired the service of Daniel Ricciardo, but even that could not lift them from the doldrums. And with Covid-19 causing massive havoc all around Europe, the French government, who owns 15% of Renault, said they are re-evaluating their involvement with the automaker. That immediately left Renault on the backfoot, both with its road cars and motorsport involvement.
While team boss Cyril Abiteboul said Renault F1 would continue, one can't help but get the sense that, just like in the past, Renault will suddenly and abruptly end their involvement in the sport.
Will Renault survive the adverse effects of Covid-19? Only time will tell.
Renault's 2020 F1 car. (Javier Martínez dela Puente / Getty Images)