McLaren: Ferrari 'in denial' over budget cap & F1 can continue without them

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Ferrari is "in denial" over the need for a lower budget cap and Formula 1 can carry on without them, McLaren CEO Zak Brown says.

A disagreement has broken out between the long-time rivals in recent weeks as the sport discusses how to respond to the growing financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

McLaren is calling for the budget cap, which was originally $175million, to be reduced to just $100million to help smaller teams and essentially eliminate the current inequality between all the outfits.

Ferrari though, with the support of Red Bull, is unhappy at a proposed figure of $145million, citing the cuts to personnel and other areas they would need to make.

“We are in a situation where if Formula 1 goes by its old habits, we’re all at extreme risk for the future of F1,” Brown told this week.

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“I think if we think forward and get with the times, we can not only survive what’s going on right now, but I ultimately think the sport can thrive and we all win.

“I’m all for a good healthy debate, but I think the comments that I’m being seen put forward don’t stack up, contradict themselves, and don’t accurately reflect what I think is reality.”

Ferrari has also suggested F1 not to "hurry" into significant changes based on emotion, something that didn't sit well with the McLaren boss.

“I’m almost at a loss of what you say to that,” he said. “I think we all recognise that in modern times we’re going through the biggest crisis the world has seen.

“You have countries shut down. You have industry shut down, and to not be in a hurry to address what’s going on, I think, is a critical mistake. It’s living in denial.

“I think you would find pretty much every president or prime minister or CEO around the world is operating in a hurry to tackle this issue head-on.”

This week, the FIA moved to drop the need for unanimous support for short-term changes in exceptional circumstances, increasing the possibility of a more radical budget cap cut.

That led to Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto warning the company could expand its motorsport activities away from F1 in comments that were initially reported as another threat to pull out the sport before being clarified.

“I would hate to see them leave the sport,” Brown said before the second statement came. “I would hate to see anybody leave the sport. So that’s certainly not something that we’d like to see happen.

“However I think the sport can survive with 18 cars on the grid. I think there are other power unit manufacturers that could cover the two teams that are currently powered by them. So, yes, I think we could.

“On the flip side. I think if we land on a budget cap too high, and that ends up turning off those that are putting their hands in their pocket and investing in Formula 1, I don’t think Formula 1 can survive with 14 cars on the grid," the McLaren CEO added. "I think 16 is right on the line and at 18, it can.

'But I’d really much prefer to have them (Ferrari) stay in the sport. I think the sport’s much better off obviously with them than without.”