FIA President Jean Todt believes motorsport may need to undertake a “complete rethink” due to the coronavirus pandemic, comparing the situation to the Great Depression.
FIA-sanctioned motorsport series are on hiatus due to the pandemic and are not due to resume until July, when Formula 1 hopes to hold its season-opening grand prix in Austria.
Formula 1 has already opted to retain current chassis for 2021, delay the new regulations by 12 months, with the budget cap likely to be lowered.
The automotive industry is one of many that has already been financially impacted by the pandemic, with figures downgraded for the current year.
It has prompted speculation that manufacturers could assess the viability of maintaining motorsport programmes.
Audi has already cited the coronavirus impact as one reason for its decision to depart DTM – which is sanctioned by ITR – at the end of 2020.
Todt fears more operations may call time on their involvement in various championships and compared the situation to that facing the United States in the 1930s.
“I don’t think that the priority now for a manufacturer is to secure continuity in motor racing,” Todt said in an interview with the FIA’s AUTO magazine.
“I’m sure some teams, suppliers and manufacturers may have to review their programmes. They might be constrained to stop.
“I hope team owners and sponsors will keep the motivation. We must encourage them to feel they still like it and need it. On that, we have a responsibility. That’s why we should listen to everybody.
“We must be humble; even if we love motor sport, it is not essential for society. So we have to ensure that we make proper choices and wise decisions.
“In fact, what’s needed is a complete rethink of how we go motor racing. We could talk of a ‘New Deal’ approach, like America had after the Great Depression”.
Todt, whose tenure as FIA President is due to end next year, added that “we are living through unprecedented times in terms of the all-encompassing nature of the obstacles we face – as nations, cities, communities, as neighbours and as families.
“It is at a difficult moments such as this that the strength of our family at the FIA is revealed and it is my hope that we will all play a part in helping to overcome this challenge and, as we emerge from the crisis, in creating a better future for us all.”