Williams are latest Formula One team to furlough staff

Drivers Russell and Latifi have agreed to cut their wages by 20 per cent

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Williams became the second Formula One team to furlough some staff because of the coronavirus crisis as drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi agreed to cut their wages by 20 per cent.

The 2020 season has been delayed because of the pandemic and British-based Williams announced their cost-cutting moves a week after McLaren opted to take the same financial measures.

Canadian Latifi and Briton Russell, along with senior Williams executives, have taken a 20 per cent pay cut, with the other staff put on an enforced leave until the end of May.

McLaren drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris took voluntary pay cuts last week.

"Due to the ongoing situation involving Covid-19, ROKiT Williams Racing is temporarily furloughing a number of employees as part of a wider range of cost-cutting measures," a Williams statement said.

"The furlough period will last until the end of May while senior management, and our drivers, have taken a pay cut of 20 per cent effective from April 1.

"These decisions have not been taken lightly, however our aim is to protect the jobs of our staff at Grove and ensuring they can return to full-time work when the situation allows."

Last month, the British government said they would pay 80 per cent of salaries for staff who are put on furlough by their employer, covering wages up to £2,500 (Dh11,250) per month in a bid to help companies retain their workforce and prevent redundancies during the health crisis.

But the furlough of non-playing staff by wealthy Premier League football clubs has caused huge controversy.

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are among the top-flight teams to have been criticised for using the government's money to pay staff when they have owners worth millions and players on huge contracts.

F1 team bosses and the sport's management were set to meet on Monday to discuss ways to protect the sport as it suffers a loss of income.

Teams are reportedly discussing a reduction of the budget cap, already due to come into force in 2021 at $175m (Dh642m). But there is disagreement as to whether it should come down to $150m or a lower figure.