Coronavirus pandemic

F1's stability is priority, Horner says

LONDON • The coronavirus pandemic could lead to Formula One's already postponed rules revolution being pushed back further to 2023, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said on Tuesday night.

The package has so far been delayed to next year to save costs at a time when teams are facing a significant loss of revenue due to the lack of racing as more and more countries go into lockdown.

So far two of the planned 22 races have been cancelled - the Australian opener and May's Monaco showcase - and six postponed, with no action likely before the European summer.

F1 has said teams will continue to use the current cars next year and given the deepening crisis, Horner believes the sport's priority has to be to stay solvent.

"We're also talking about pushing back a further year the new regulations because in my mind, it would be totally irresponsible to have the burden of development costs in 2021," he told the BBC.

"There seems to be reasonable agreement, but it needs ratifying by the (world governing body) FIA to push back those development costs into 2022 for introduction in the '23 season.

"The most important thing we need now is stability."

F1 derives most of its revenues from hosting fees, global TV contracts and sponsorships. The sport faces a massive financial hit if grands prix cannot be staged.

At the weekend, Red Bull's head of driver development, Helmut Marko, revealed commercial rights holder Liberty Media were expecting revenue losses of up to US$300 million (S$430 million).

F1's revenue last year was US$2.022 billion.

Horner feels the sport would survive the Covid-19 crisis, adding: "Obviously, some teams are more exposed than others, particularly the small ones, and it's important that we try our best to protect the F1 community as best we can."

  • 15% 

    Loss in F1 revenue of up to US$300 million (S$430 million) expected.

On Marko's controversial interview with Austrian network ORF over the weekend, during which he said he wanted their drivers to get infected with the Covid-19 disease now so they would not get sick once racing resumed, Horner defended his colleague, saying it was a "throwaway comment".

Pointing out how Red Bull were actively involved in Project Pitlane - an initiative to make more ventilators for the healthcare sector - he said: "Things like the ventilator project we are working on demonstrate how seriously we are taking this and how much effort's going behind it."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2020, with the headline 'F1's stability is priority, Horner says'. Subscribe