F1 director says more spending cuts needed to preserve teams

<b> F1'S NEW TECHNICAL CHIEF: </b> Former Mercedes F1 team principal Ross Brawn has joined the higher ranks of the sport following a takeover by the Liberty Media Group. <i> Image: AFP / John Thys </i>
<b> F1'S NEW TECHNICAL CHIEF: </b> Former Mercedes F1 team principal Ross Brawn has joined the higher ranks of the sport following a takeover by the Liberty Media Group. <i> Image: AFP / John Thys </i>
John Thys

The managing director of Formula One has said spending cuts will be necessary to prevent the "tragedy" of teams leaving the sport amid the coronavirus.

Ross Brawn added Monday that the cost cap for the 2021 season is set to be cut to $145-million and could be reduced further in subsequent years, with a more even distribution of prize money another measure to help increase the competitiveness of the sport.

A spending cap of $175-million was set to be introduced next year in a bid to help even up the competition.

But, following the outbreak of the global pandemic that has seen the postponement or cancellation of 10 rounds of this year's world championship, talks on reducing the figure have been held with the FIA, motorsport's world governing body.

"There has been a lot of consultation and we are in the final stages," Brawn told Sky Sports.

"We're going to start with a cap of $145-million and then the discussion is how much further down we can drive costs in the next few years.

"There is going to be a much more equitable prize fund in the new agreement. The midfield teams in particular are going to be much better off in terms of their proportion of the prize money.

"So a good midfield team should be able to score podiums, maybe a win, and should be able to show a small profit. If we can achieve that we should have a very sustainable future."

'Losing teams would be a tragedy'

The likes of Grand Prix giants Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari each have an annual spend more than double the initial proposed cap of $175-million.

And the team principal of Italian mainstays Ferrari, arguably the most famous marque in the sport, told the Guardian last month they could do the once unthinkable and quit the sport if the "demanding request" of a further spending cap became a reality.

Nevertheless, Brawn -- a former Ferrari technical director and Mercedes team principal -- said: "It has become very clear, from talking to the management of the teams. The message is clear. We've got to cut costs and have a reduction of the cost cap... If we lose some teams in this period it would be a tragedy."

The 65-year-old Briton, who forged his reputation in motorsport as an engineer and designer, added: "In the situation we have now the economic sustainability of F1 is the priority and I think that counts as much for the big teams as it does for the small teams.

"We have 10 very good teams in F1 and we want to keep it that way."

Officials hope the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 will mark the start of the delayed season, with Brawn saying: "We are working very closely with the FIA. They are putting together the structure we need. Everyone will be tested."

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