Liberty warned F1 teams could go 'out of business' due to the coronavirus

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Formula 1 owners Liberty Media have been warned smaller teams could go bust due to the financial impact of the coronavirus.

So far, the first eight races of the 2020 season have been cancelled or postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak and big changes have already been agreed to try and alleviate some financial strain, including pushing the new technical regulations for next year until 2022 and banning all development on those new cars until February 2021.

But as F1 faces a loss of critical revenue from race fees and other event-related areas, Motorsport UK boss Dave Richards feels Liberty must support the smaller outfits more, perhaps at their own expense.

“A lot will depend on the way Formula 1 behaves throughout this,” the former BAR team boss told the PA news agency.

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“F1 cannot afford to lose teams at the back of the grid because that would be a disaster for them.

“Bernie [Ecclestone] made sure that when there were tough times the smaller teams were looked after and I hope that Liberty sees the common sense in that, too.

“The big manufacturers such as Mercedes and Renault will be okay, but if you look at Williams and Racing Point, for example, it is not going to be easy for them," Richards adds. "There is a distinct danger of operations going out of business.

“There will be motorsport companies who do not have the resources to get through this period. It is going to be a real challenge.”

Also voicing concerns is Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur, who compared the current situation to the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis when the likes of BMW, Toyota, Honda and Super Aguri all left the grid.

 “The financial crisis in 2008 meant that three to four teams had to leave F1 and that could happen again," he told France's Canal Plus.

“We don’t get TV money and without a solution, we get into trouble.

“We are all in the same boat, so we have to come to a solution together.”

At the same time, however, Vasseur admits: “All the suffering that the virus has already caused, that is intense at the moment.

“As a sport, we have to be humble and be able to see the problems in a perspective.

“We shouldn’t want to race around with cars now. When they’re ready, we’ll race.”