In the midst of the financial crisis, Franz Tost says a lot depends on F1 races this season as he can’t ask Red Bull for unlimited funds.
It has been two months since Formula 1 was expected to go racing in Melbourne only for the Australian Grand Prix to be cancelled at the last minute.
Since then the list of races either cancelled or postponed has grown to 10, although Formula 1 chiefs are hoping to make up ground with an action-packed second half of the year.
F1 boss Chase Carey has set out a 19-race calendar, beginning with a double header at the Red Bull Ring in July before possibly moving onto Silverstone or Hockenheim for two races.
While all the teams are desperate for the season to get underway, losing roughly $2 million for every race missed, Tost says a lot more than 2020 is dependent on those plans.
He told the official F1 website: “We want to bring some upgrades to the car, but first of all I want to know if we race or not.
“I don’t want to start making upgrades and then we don’t race. Because of the financial side, we have to save money wherever possible.
“I’m also very worried about next year.
“Although we can take over more or less this year’s car for 2021, because there is no regulation change, but in 2021, we have to design and fabricate a completely new car for 2022, and I still don’t know how we can manage this from the financial side.
“To build up such a big project costs a lot of money. But we will see.
“It has been decided this way, I would have preferred to postpone to 2023, but FOM and FIA have decided against that so now we have to get the best out of it.”
The AlphaTauri team boss revealed that while his Faenza-based team is backed by Red Bull, one of Formula 1’s biggest spenders, there is by no means a blank cheque book.
Last year Red Bull spent around $445 million while the junior team only had $138 million.
“We have a business plan and of course we get a certain amount of money [from Red Bull], but we have to stay within these figures,” Tost added.
“It’s not a case of just asking for more money, we have to find ways not to overspend – like it is the case everywhere.”
As such the team boss is keen on Formula 1’s plans to lower the budget cap to $145 million for 2021 before further reducing it to $140m for 2022 and $135m for 2023.
“For me, the numbers are still too high,” Tost said.
“I’ve always pushed for lower numbers simply because we have a global economic crisis. I expect it’s three to four years progress until we recover.
“It’s difficult to find sponsors. While we have a cap of $145m, regarding AlphaTauri, you have to add around another $40m [for costs outside the cap] so it means we’re talking around a budget of 185 or similar.
“This is a big challenge to bring together this amount of money. If you don’t do so many races this year, we won’t get as much money next year from FOM. Anyway, this has been decided.”