Formula 1’s Managing Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn says he feared the championship would have lost manufacturers had a budget cap not been introduced.
Formula 1 stakeholders agreed last October to introduce an annual cost cap of $175m – excluding some aspects such as driver salaries, marketing and engine costs – from 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic prompted a re-think and the cap has been revised to $145m, lowering to $140m in 2022, and $135m from 2023.
Brawn believes that putting a definitive figure on a spending limit provides greater clarity long-term for the championship’s manufacturers.
“Before this [pandemic] ever happened we said that if we ever have a crisis in the future we can adjust the budget cap to take account and all accept that the ideal level of the equilibrium changes,” Brawn said at this week’s FIA eConference.
“Without the ability for these teams to go back to their boards and go back to the manufacturers saying ‘Look, F1 is vital, it’s important, and it’s going to cost less in the future’, I don’t think we would have retained the number of manufacturers or big teams that we have.”
Formula 1 has already announced a revised partial schedule for 2020, taking in eight races in Europe across July, August and early September, and intends to wrap up the campaign in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in December.
Brawn added that Formula 1’s early awareness that it had to be flexible assisted its prospects in getting the delayed 2020 campaign up and running.
“The situation is different throughout the world and I think the fact that we were prepared to accept closed races in the early part of the season gave us more opportunity,” he said.
“That’s not totally ideal for any sport because the fans are such a crucial part of it.
“Approaching closed events gave us the bulk of the European season. We can adjust that as we progress and understand where we are with this pandemic.”
Formula 1 is understood to be planning further rounds in Europe after the Italian Grand Prix in early September, with Mugello and Portimao the primary contenders, and Imola and Hockenheim also on the list.
The majority of the remaining non-Middle East flyaways are due to be abandoned but Formula 1 is holding out hope of scheduling the finally-lucrative rounds in Russia and China, potentially with two races at the respective venues.