Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says the global coronavirus crisis has resulted in Formula 1 being left “exposed” due to its current unsustainable model.

F1 finds itself in a vulnerable position because of the COVID-19 outbreak and a subsequent lack of racing with the opening nine races of the 2020 season called off and further disruption likely.

Both the sport and its 10 teams are feeling the financial hit caused by a severe drop in revenue from race fees, broadcast rights and sponsorship deals amid the suspension.

There are growing concerns over whether all teams will survive and a number of cost-saving measures have been implemented to help ease the anticipated financial strain, including delaying the technical rules revamp until 2022 and bringing forward the mandatory summer shutdown period.

Speaking on Sky F1’s Vodcast, Williams - who admitted it is “absolutely critical” for her team’s future that F1 is able to resume racing this year - reckons the crisis has highlighted the need for a financial rethink across the sport.

"I think this an opportunity and, I think Formula 1 and the model within which we operate has been exposed as probably an unsustainable model when something like this happens,” Williams said.

"This is unprecedented and this is crisis mode and it is incredibly difficult to navigate your way through.

“Survival is critical, and we have to put the work in now, so that should a similar situation arise, god forbid, we are all much better protected, rather than having to scramble like we are having to do now.

"We are working incredibly hard not just within Williams but within the sport as a whole. Formula 1 really does come together in these circumstances.

“The bigger teams understand the work they need to do to ensure the smaller teams' survival. The smaller teams understand and sympathise with what we are asking of the bigger teams.”

Williams expressed her disappointment at the delay to the planned 2021 technical rules overhaul, which she believes had “set a great future” for all competing teams.

According to Williams, F1 could be in a better position during the current situation if the regulations had been introduced earlier, though she says she remains “eternally optimistic” that the sport will get through this tough period.

"What is disappointing is that [we don't have] the new regulations that were coming in for 2021 which we'd got to a really good place with and which were going to really set a great future for all of our teams,” she explained.

“I think if we had those regulations implemented two years ago, we might not all be as concerned as we are now.

“We are a little exposed at the moment. But I trust that we will get through this. I am eternally optimistic.”

 

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