Williams has become the second team to furlough some of its staff members amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while its senior management and drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi have taken 20% pay cuts.
Following confirmation from McLaren that it had opted to use the UK Government’s job retention scheme to pay employees the lower amount of 80% of their wages or £2500 ($3100) per month, Williams has now followed suit while teams are in a three-week mandatory shutdown period.
“Due to the ongoing situation involving COVID-19, ROKiT Williams Racing is temporarily furloughing a number of employees as part of a wider range of cost-cutting measures,” a Wiliams statement read. “The furlough period will last until the end of May whilst senior management, and our drivers, have taken a pay cut of 20% effective from 1st April.
“These decisions have not been taken lightly, however our aim is to protect the jobs of our staff at Grove and ensuring they can return to full-time work when the situation allows.”
On the same day, Racing Point has confirmed that it, too, has opted to temporarily furlough some staff, while race drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll have taken “voluntary pay cuts”. However, the team declined to disclose figures.
While teams have to observe three weeks of FIA shutdown by the end of April, the ongoing restrictions on movement in the UK and Europe makes it likely that this will be extended further, with no races taking place before the middle of June at the earliest.
Confirmation of Williams’ moves comes after McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown warned up to four teams could disappear as a result of the coronavirus crisis due to the financial implications of not being able to race.