Richard fears for “smaller” F1 teams

The lack of racing due to the coronavirus is eventually going to hit the sport where it hurts most, in the pocket, and for those teams already beginning to hurt things are likely to get much worse.

The budget cap, which will still be introduced next year, was not only aimed at levelling the playing field, but to prevent the spending war that has created a two, indeed three-tier, championship.

While the $175m (£141m) cap will see the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull need to cut back, the likes of Williams and Haas were never likely to get anywhere near to spending that sort of money.

David Richards, former boss of the Benetton and BAR teams, the driving force behind Prodrive, and now chairman of UK Motorsport, admits that he fears for the future of some teams and believes F1 should be ready to assist them.

“Bernie made sure that when there were tough times the smaller teams were looked after,” he told the Press Association, referring to former F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, who regularly helped out those teams struggling financially, “and I hope that Liberty see the common sense in that too.

“The big manufacturers such as Mercedes and Red Bull will be OK,” he added, “but if you look at Williams and Racing Point, for example, it’s not going to be easy for them. There a distinct danger of operations going out of business.

“There will be motorsport companies who do not have the resources to get through this period. It’s going to be a real challenge.”

Of course, Racing Point has billionaire Lawrence Stroll and his consortium on board, while Williams – ignoring the ongoing speculation over the future of Haas – appears the team most at risk.

Fact is, that while F1 has always lived in a bubble, it is about to be hit hard in the face by reality, as will most of motorsport, indeed much of the world.

And while it is understandable that one should look to the sport’s owners to assist teams facing difficult times, the sport itself has lost half its value on the stock market in the last two months.

F1 needs to get back on track for real as soon as possible, it (and consequently) the teams can only rely on Esports and hyped-up replays of old races for so long.