Following a conference call involving Formula 1, the FIA and all 10 F1 teams on Thursday to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on all aspects of the sport, the parties have unanimously agreed to delay the introduction of radical new technical regulations by a year, to 2022.
The stakeholders decided that the best course of action was to delay the introduction of the technical rules until 2022, with the 2020 rules applying into 2021. However, the planned budget cap will go into effect from next year. It is hoped that together, these moves will ease the financial burden on the teams, given that their income may be reduced because of fewer races this year.
“All parties further discussed the current situation of the 2020 championship and how the sport will react to the ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the FIA in a statement. “Due to the currently volatile financial situation this has created, it has been agreed that teams will use their 2020 chassis for 2021, with the potential freezing of further components to be discussed in due course.
“The introduction and implementation of the financial regulations will go ahead as planned in 2021, and discussions remain ongoing between the FIA, Formula 1 and all teams regarding further ways to make significant cost savings.
“All teams expressed their support for the FIA and Formula 1 in their ongoing efforts to restructure the 2020 calendar as the global situation regarding COVID-19 develops.
“All of these commitments will be referred to the relevant governing structures for final ratification.”
F1 moved its summer shutdown forward to take place in March and April in order to limit the impact of restricted working conditions and open up August to potentially reschedule races, but the situation is having a major impact on car development, both for this season, and for a major regulation change next year.
A number of countries have initiated severe restrictions on movement of people in order to try and limit the spread of COVID-19, with Italy in a nation-wide lockdown and the United Kingdom – where F1 and a number of the teams are headquartered – looking increasingly likely to follow suit. The situation has resulted in most professional sports going on hiatus, and the next four races of the F1 season have already been postponed.
Prior to the conference call, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto underscored the impact of the current crisis on the sport goes well beyond delays of race events.
“We must carefully evaluate every aspect and see if it is not really the case to think about possibly postponing the introduction of the new 2021 technical rules,” Binotto told the official Formula 1 website. “In any case, Ferrari is ready to take responsibility for a choice that must be made in the ultimate interest of this sport, it is certainly not the time for selfishness and tactics.”
Renault also referenced the need for all the teams to work together to help protect the sport during the challenging time, with its Viry-Chatillon factory closing on Friday and Enstone facility following suit on Monday before an official shutdown period from March 30-April 19.
“We will now enter into a phase of in-depth discussions with F1, the FIA and the other teams to define and put in place measures that our sport will have to take in these exceptional circumstances,” a Renault statement read. “In the face of the coming challenges, responsibility and solidarity must prevail to reduce the impact of this health crisis.”