Claire Williams admitted on Wednesday that it's “scary” to contemplate her Formula One team folding in the grip of the coronavirus but insisted that the veteran British outfit will not put the health of its staff at risk.
The 2020 F1 season has yet to get underway with 10 races already either cancelled or postponed. The Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 has been pencilled in as the delayed season curtain-raiser.
In the meantime, teams at the back of the grid, such as Williams which was rock bottom in 2019 with just one point, is desperate for the income that the world championship brings.
“It is scary that you could not just lose one or two teams, but an awful lot of teams if you don't get back racing,” the Williams deputy team principal told Sky Sports.
“The financial model we have in our sport is that we are all so reliant upon the money we receive from the results in the constructors championship.”
However, she cautioned: “But you have to weigh up the need to go back racing in order to ensure your team's survival against the very important reality of ensuring that your people remain safe. For me, at the end of the day my people are always going to win out.
“I certainly hope that doesn't cost us our team, but the safety of our people, whether that be returning them to work at Grove (the team headquarters), or asking them to travel, is going to be absolutely paramount. We will certainly not be sending people back racing until it is appropriate to do so.”
To catch 8up on lost racing, Austria is likely to stage two races as will Silverstone later in July.
Formula One managing director Ross Brawn said earlier this week that the Austrian Grand Prix's remote location makes it a logical choice as the opening race
“One of the logistical challenges is getting everyone tested and cleared to enter the racing environment,” said Brawn.
“Once we do that, it's very attractive to keep everyone in that environment, within that biosphere that we want to create, for another race.”
Meanwhile, Williams said she was delighted that F1 has agreed a reduced cost cap with a spending limit — initially set at $175m — now expected to be around the $145m mark.
“We've always been really supportive of the cost-cap coming in, we've been talking about it for almost a decade now, the need for F1 to have a cost-cap,” she said.
“It's so important for teams like ours who are independent who don't just have unlimited amounts of budget.
“And so we were delighted when the $175m budget came through and then with coronavirus we've had to readdress that situation and it's going to be coming in at an even lower level, which is clearly even better news for a team like ours.”
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