F1 teams still awaiting clarity on Brexit outcome

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Formula 1 teams say they still cannot be sure how the United Kingdom’s impending departure from the European Union will affect their respective businesses, though concede the delay has assisted matters.

The United Kingdom has twice delayed its planned departure – originally set for 29 March, and then 31 October – and now has a ‘flexible’ extension that ends on January 31 2020.

A general election is due to be held in the country on December 12.

Seven of the 10 Formula 1 teams are based in the United Kingdom while Toro Rosso’s aerodynamics department is located in the country.

“I have to say that I have lost this plot a bit recently but yeah, we’re working, we have some measures in place,” said Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul.

“I think we know how things are going to take place and shape up for anything related to races.

“We are not totally clear on the logistics between our two factories, one being in France, the other one being in the UK, that could cause some delay and that’s still unclear.

“On the personnel side – because we’ve recruited a lot, 24 nationalities working in our factory in the UK, obviously we don’t want to lose these people, so we understand that there will be some sort of grandfathering, some measures to protect them, at least for initial years, until we know a bit more about the exact measures but again, I think we first need clarity about Brexit itself.”

Added McLaren boss Zak Brown: “We have a team back at the factory, a little Brexit working group so we’re prepared for it.

“I think it will impact everyone’s business to a certain degree but fortunately it’s been going on long enough that I don’t think there will be any surprises and we’ll be working around it accordingly.”

Williams’ deputy team boss Claire Williams added that the uncertainty “makes life a bit difficult” for squads in terms of long-term planning.

“We’ve had a steering committee on this for the past year now because there are clearly a lot of touch points that are going to have an impact when it eventually does happen around personnel in particular,” said Williams.

“I think Cyril said he has 24 nationalities, we have 28. There are a lot of considerations on obviously not just the people who are working for us but their families as well, whether they are based with those people in the UK or whether they are in Europe.

“There are issues around foreign exchange, around freight, crossing through borders, people crossing through borders.

“There’s a lot of working that’s going on and obviously with the continued uncertainty that makes life a bit difficult so we’re looking forward to the whole thing being resolved sooner rather than later and we can all move on from that.”