Red Bull: Coronavirus 'different' to 2008 crisis and F1 must ensure all teams survive

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner has warned Formula 1 must act to ensure all 10 teams survive the current coronavirus crisis.

So far, the first eight races of the season have either been cancelled or postponed due to the global Covid-19 outbreak, costing the sport potentially hundreds of millions in lost revenue.

Already, drastic steps have been taken to try and soften the blow by cost-cutting measures such as delaying the new regulations for 2021 by at least one year and implementing a freeze on the development of this year's chassis.

But Horner believes F1 may have to go further. 

“F1 is a very strong business and it’s got enormous heritage,” he told the BBC on Tuesday. “F1 will survive this.

“Whether all the teams survive, this is another matter, and it is the responsibility of all the team principals to act with the interests of the sport and all its participants, to do our best to ensure all 10 teams come out the other side."

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The Red Bull boss also explained why the coronavirus was a greater problem for F1 than the 2008 financial crisis.

“The difference in 2008 was we were still racing, there was still a calendar, there were still events. You could see the issue more clearly, whereas here we are more blind," he added.

“When will we start racing again? It’s a different scenario. 2008 had its pressures and the people in the room at that time – Ron Dennis, Flavio Briatore and so on – were thinking about the interests of the sport and it is crucial we do that collectively at this time.

“The world is a different place at the moment. Of course revenue is hit very hard. We don’t know how hard it will hit F1 yet.

“All the teams have been reacting responsibly and collectively. Obviously some teams are more exposed than others, particularly the small ones, and it’s important that we try our best to protect the F1 community as best we can.”

Another key difference between now and 2008 is the leadership, as former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was known for often supporting teams in tough financial situations himself, but it's unlikely new owners Liberty Media would be willing to do the same.

Indeed, F1's share price on the NASDAQ in New York fell almost 50 per cent in just 12 days prior to the Australian Grand Prix though has since seen a small recovery.

“To be honest, the Liberty structure is quite complicated and you can only imagine that Live Nation, the owner, is also taking a hit on the events business,” Horner said on the owner's financial plight.

“But they have deep pockets as well and they have always taken a long-term view on this. I think they will do whatever is needed to ensure the sport continues.”