Horner: Liberty would bail out struggling teams

Date published: April 19 2020 - Jamie Woodhouse

Christian Horner head in hands

Red Bull principal Christian Horner believes Formula 1’s owners Liberty Media would bail out any struggling teams to protect the series.

The 2020 Formula 1 season is on hold with the first nine rounds called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and unsurprisingly this is hurting the teams financially.

In the UK Haas, McLaren, Renault, Williams and Racing Point have all taken advantage of the furlough scheme that sees the government contribute 80% of an employees wages, up to £2,500 a month.

There have also been salary cuts for big earners throughout the Formula 1 grid.

FIA president Jean Todt recently admitted that losing some of the smaller teams was possible due to the financial implications of losing so much racing, while there is no guarantee of any action this year.

But Red Bull principal Horner believes the sport’s owners Liberty Media would bail out any struggling teams in such a situation to protect the future of Formula 1.

“It could be an enormous blow and at that point the promoter has to decide,” he told The Guardian.

“It is their business, they have to decide how do they keep these teams alive because they need teams to go racing. The Liberty guys would do whatever they can to ensure that 10 teams are on the grid and competing next year.

“In order to protect their own business I believe they would help to facilitate, which means paying, to ensure that those teams would be around to compete next year.”

As part of future cost-controlling measures, Formula 1 will introduce a budget cap from 2021 – it was set at $175m per season, but the value is likely to be lowered with McLaren pushing for a figure as low as $100m.

Red Bull, along with Mercedes and Ferrari are the clear top three teams in F1, and all three spend over $400m annually, so Horner believes some teams are using this budget cap debate simply to push their own agendas.

“Teams are competitive beasts, of course they are looking to use an angle,” he said.

“The cap is a discussion about competitiveness, not about money. It’s about trying to bring the top teams down to a level where the midfield teams feel they can compete. The reality is that whatever the level of spend there will always be teams that run at the front and teams that run at the back.”

The teams failed to reach an agreement when they met on Thursday over a new limit for the budget cap. The idea of a cap of $145m, moving to $130m after a year, was presented, while Ferrari principal Mattia Binotto suggested a two-tier budget cap for supplier and customer teams in the past.

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.