F1 could lose four teams if coronavirus crisis not handled properly - McLaren boss Zak Brown

The season has yet to start, with two races - including the showcase Monaco Grand Prix in May - cancelled and six postponed so far

Powered by automated translation

McLaren boss Zak Brown believes as many as four teams could disappear from Formula One as a result of the coronavirus pandemic if the situation isn't handled correctly.

The season has yet to start, with two races – including the showcase Monaco Grand Prix in May – cancelled and six postponed so far.

F1 has already made some changes, including postponing a planned major technical rule change from 2021 to 2022 and agreeing teams will use the same cars next year, but Brown said more was needed to protect the sport and its 10 teams.

"Could I see – through what is going on right now in the world if we don't tackle this situation head-on very aggressively – two teams disappearing? Yeah," the American told the BBC.

"In fact, I could see four teams disappearing if this isn't handled the right way."

Brown said the economic and health situation meant it should not be assumed anyone would be lining up to take over any struggling teams.

"I don't think the timing could be worse from that standpoint," he said. "So I think F1 is in a very fragile state at the moment."

McLaren last week became the first team to put staff on furlough while ratings agency Moody's changed Formula One's outlook to negative from positive.

File photo dated 12-07-2019 of McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday April 2, 2020. McLaren have become the first Formula One team to furlough staff during the coronavirus pandemic, with remaining employees taking a wage cut. See PA story SPORT Coronavirus F1 Photo credit should read David Davies/PA Wire.

Team bosses are due to discuss cost-saving plans in a call on Monday.

A US$150 million (Dh551m) budget cap, still well above the spending levels of some smaller teams, is due to come into force next year but Brown indicated there was a push for it to be reduced further – possibly to $100m.

"You have everyone at $150m, and the strong majority – including one of the big teams – willing to come substantially under $150m," he said.

There is also some discussion about a further postponement of the technical rule changes to 2023.