The staff reductions announced earlier this week by McLaren are necessary to ensure the team is in the best shape to achieve success under Formula 1’s new regulations, according to team principal Andreas Seidl.
After teams agreed to a lower budget cap of $145 million in 2021 — dropping to $135m by 2023 — as well as aerodynamic testing restrictions to help make the sport more sustainable, McLaren confirmed it envisaged making around 70 redundancies in its F1 team even before the FIA World Motor Sport Council rubber-stamped the new rules. Those layoffs come as part of much wider cutbacks of the McLaren Group as some 1200 jobs will be lost, but Seidl says the F1 changes are designed to make the team the right size to be successful under the new regulations.
“It has been clear to everyone for some time that a budget cap would be applied and we pushed for a lower limit to support a financially sustainable sport,” Seidl said. “It is a big challenge ahead of us. Adjusting the way we work and right-sizing the team to this new cap over the next months is a massive and painful task and, highlighted by our news earlier this week, will sadly mean losing team members, but our aim is to be the best-sized and most efficient team in the future.
“The cooperation and understanding of our team members have been great and with shutdown coming to an end from Wednesday onwards, it is important the team had clarity on the various regulations, which will now allow us to start work again on our cars and understand the implications of the regulations for the future.”
Seidl says the way certain regulations will come into force instantly and others are staggered across the next two to three years is an acceptable approach to allow all teams to adapt to F1’s new challenges.
“These are very tough times for everyone. There have been months of hard work under difficult circumstances but it’s great to see how, under the leadership of the FIA and F1, all teams pulled together to define the right actions to navigate through this crisis and work towards the future for a sustainable sport, that will enable all the teams to take part on a level playing field.
“While McLaren supports the cost-saving measures in general, we are pleased with the compromise to provide teams with enough aero freedom to retain the competitive element that is core to Formula 1 throughout 2020 and 2021, until the new technical regulations kick in for 2022.”