McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has hailed the approval of a radical cost-cutting package as a “crucially important moment” for Formula 1. 

The World Motor Sport Council officially ratified major changes to F1’s sporting, technical and financial regulations by e-vote on Wednesday. These measures were headlined by the introduction of a reduced cost cap aimed at safeguarding the future of the sport in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.  

Teams have agreed to slash the budget cap from $175m to $145m for 2021, with the figure reducing further to $140m for 2022, and then to $135m for the 2023-25 period based on a 21-race season. 

McLaren was among the teams spearheading a push for changes to F1’s financial structure, with Brown previously warning that the sport could lose up to four teams as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Brown welcomed the changes confirmed by the FIA on Wednesday, adding: “Formula 1 wins today. 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.”

As well as a chassis freeze between 2020 and 2021, the amount of aerodynamic development teams are permitted to make will also be limited via the introduction of a new sliding-scale token system. 

Like all 10 teams, McLaren has been hit hard by the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis. It has subsequently announced it will cut more than a quarter of its workforce, resulting in 1,200 redundancies - including around 70 F1 staff - as part of the major company-wide restructure. 

“These are very tough times for everyone,” McLaren team principal Andreas Seid said. 

“There have been months of hard work under difficult circumstances but it’s great to see how, under the leadership of the FIA and F1, all teams pulled together to define the right actions to navigate through this crisis and work towards the future for a sustainable sport, that will enable all the teams to take part on a level playing field.

“While McLaren supports the cost-saving measures in general, we are pleased with the compromise to provide teams with enough aero freedom to retain the competitive element that is core to Formula 1 throughout 2020 and 2021, until the new technical regulations kick in for 2022.

“It has been clear to everyone for some time that a budget cap would be applied and we pushed for a lower limit to support a financially sustainable sport. 

“It is a big challenge ahead of us,” he explained. “Adjusting the way we work and right-sizing the team to this new cap over the next months is a massive and painful task and, highlighted by our news earlier this week, will sadly mean losing team members, but our aim is to be the best-sized and most efficient team in the future.

“The cooperation and understanding of our team members have been great and with shutdown coming to an end from Wednesday onwards, it is important the team had clarity on the various regulations, which will now allow us to start work again on our cars and understand the implications of the regulations for the future.

“We are now fully focused on preparing, together with Carlos and Lando, for an intense second half of the year with hopefully as many races as possible.”

 

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