McLaren forced to cut Formula One team as coronavirus crisis takes it toll

British outfit said the job losses 'will have a significant impact on the shape and size of our F1 team'

McLaren Group Annouces Job Losses - BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 28: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault on track during Day Three of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 28, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

British Formula One team and supercar maker McLaren said on Tuesday it plans to cut 1,200 jobs due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The group's executive chairman, Paul Walsh, said the cuts "will have a significant impact on the shape and size of our F1 team".

British media reports said about 70 of the racing team's 800 jobs will be eliminated by the restructuring plan.

"We deeply regret the impact that this restructure will have on all our people, but especially those whose jobs may be affected," Walsh said in a statement.

"It is a course of action we have worked hard to avoid, having already undertaken dramatic cost-saving measures across all areas of business. But we now have no further choice but to reduce the size of our workforce.

"This is undoubtedly a challenging time for our company, and particularly our people, but we plan to emerge as an efficient, sustainable business with a clear course for returning to growth."

McLaren is a grand name in British racing that has produced cars featured in James Bond movies and bred winners of F1 races since the 1960s. But the group's racing division has struggled in recent years.

McLaren is now lobbying F1 to introduce a budget cap next year that could reduce the gap between less well-funded teams and runaway leaders such as Mercedes and Ferrari.

The F1 season has been suspended and is not set to return until July.

Orders for McLaren's supercars have also fallen steeply. Walsh said the group has invested in developing "a new lightweight, hybrid vehicle architecture" that will enter serial production at the end of the year.

Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris will be driving for McLaren when the season does gets under way, before the former joins Ferrari next season.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo is moving to McLaren to replace Sainz.