Haas is not being “cheap” or “malicious” by furloughing some of its Formula 1 staff, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.

As one of F1’s smaller teams operating on a low budget, Haas has taken part in the UK government’s job retention scheme that offers to pay 80% of employee wages to prevent companies from making redundancies.

McLaren, Williams, Racing Point and Renault are also using this approach in a bid to try and save jobs and secure their respective futures amid the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis and a temporary suspension to the 2020 F1 season.

“You never take it [the news of furlough] well, but most of our people understand why we are doing it,” Steiner told the official Formula 1 website.

“This is not to cut them short, it’s to make sure they have a job in the future. There is nothing malicious, we’re not being cheap or trying to hoard money. We try to do the best we can.

‘A lot of people who have lost their jobs [in other industries]. So long as we can keep the jobs, that is what we try to do.

“It hurts every business. We have very limited income.

“FOM (Formula One Management) tries to help but we don’t know if we go back racing. I personally think we will but you have to plan for the worst, that we have no income from FOM.

“And if we have no income someone needs to pay – and those funds are limited. It wouldn’t be right to pay if nothing has happened.”

Some of the teams, along with F1 and the FIA are determined to lower the budget cap further in a bid to try and make the sport more sustainable for those competing, and Steiner believes F1 needs to make changes in the wake of the crisis.

“This crisis gives us an opportunity,” he explained. “We need to make the sport survive. It is no good if the three rich teams are left. If McLaren and Renault want to come down, it means something.

“They are car manufacturers. They are big teams in my opinion. They realise where the world is going. Going on like this doesn’t make a lot of sense.

“It should come down,” Steiner added. “I respect the big teams and their challenge to get down from a lot of people to a smaller amount.

“There’s a saying, 'It’s never nice to jump in a cold swimming pool, but at some stage you have to do it' - otherwise you’re not around anymore.

“It will be cold and it will be unpleasant but when you have done it, you’ve done it.”

Steiner ultimately hopes F1 will change for the better.

“F1 will change, I hope for the better,” he said. “I always hope we will have 10 teams, who can compete for podiums, which I know is too optimistic, but at least if we can half the grid who can compete for the podium it would be nice, like we had no so long ago.

“I hope we will go back to not the one with the biggest wallet is the world champion, but the best team effort is world champion. I hope this crisis pushes us in that direction. But obviously I don’t know if it will happen.”