Martin Whitmarsh estimates that seven of the 11 Formula One teams are in financial difficulties as advertising and sponsorship take a hit.
Last season Formula One lost HRT while already this year Marussia were forced to axe a driver in order to sell his seat to a paying driver.
"It's tough," Whitmarsh told the BBC.
"We're in the world of advertising and you only have to see how advertising is worldwide. The rate card is down.
"We have taken some measures but I think it's going to be tough for some."
The McLaren team boss added that several teams will struggle to "have a viable business model for a few years - there's no doubt about that."
The teams, though, are expected to receive a boost when the new Concorde Agreement is signed as their share in the revenue will reportedly increase from 47 percent to 63.
The Concorde Agreement is the document that governs the running of F1 from the revenue shares to the technical regulations.
The deal is between the FIA, the teams and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who has proven to be a tough negotiator.
"Bernie has done a fantastic job for the owners," Whitmarsh said. "We can criticise him but he's doing a better job than we are. He's keeping the money on behalf of his employers.
"That money whistles out of the sport and that's deeply frustrating for some of us in the sport but that's exactly what he should be trying to do and if the teams aren't cohesive enough to work together to secure a larger share of that then they have to blame themselves."