Corona crisis could claim Williams and Haas – Schumacher (Update)

Gene Haas is learning how to make a $1 million in F1.  Start with $500 million
Gene Haas is learning how to make $1 million in F1. Start with $500 million

UPDATE (GMM) Kevin Magnussen has played down fears Haas team owner Gene Haas could be poised to pull the pin on his Formula 1 project.

Speculation Haas could quit the sport was already doing the rounds last year, when the team was struggling badly with its 2019 car.

"I can understand that Gene was frustrated by what happened last year, but I think it was a bump in the road," team driver Magnussen told BT newspaper.

"Gene knows he has a really good, small team. And there are so many exciting things happening in Formula 1 right now that could be an advantage for us."

For instance, as the financial impact of the corona crisis bears down on even the biggest teams, some are pushing for the budget cap to be reduced to as little as $100 million.

"With the corona crisis, the budget limit seems to be coming down and that can make us more competitive," said Magnussen. "We are talking about a ceiling that is actually close to our budget.

"That will mean that we can continue and change basically nothing, while many of the competitors ahead of us will be forced to cut back. Then it gets interesting for Gene," he added.

04/30/20 (GMM) At least two teams are at risk of collapse as F1's shutdown period for the coronavirus pandemic continues.

That is the view of former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, who thinks the team he won all six of his grand prix wins with – Williams – is most directly endangered.

When asked by Bild newspaper if he can imagine teams collapsing whilst no races are taking place, he answered: "We are not far from that.

"If the season doesn't start, I don't know how Williams can survive. Or Haas, who as Americans tend to work according to the 'hire and fire' principle.

"So it may well be that in the crisis they say they will leave Formula 1. By the way, I don't just see problems for the small teams," the German added.

Schumacher, 44, said one solution promoted by Red Bull's Christian Horner and Ferrari's Mattia Binotto – legalizing 'customer cars' – could work.

"A brilliant idea," he said.

"A team like Williams would be a lot further ahead if they just bought a Red Bull instead of trying to build their own car. It would also cost them less money."

But Schumacher said the bigger teams, and even reigning world champions Mercedes, may also be in trouble.

"I believe there is a possibility that they could leave Formula 1 due to the crisis at the end of the year," he said.

"We had that with BMW over ten years ago. The possibility is always there although I think that due to Mercedes' successes of recent years, I don't think getting out of F1 will be the first step for them."

Schumacher said he is more interested in the recent moves made by Toto Wolff, who has bought into Aston Martin and will not attend every race as Mercedes team boss in 2020.

"I find the situation around him interesting," he said. "Let's see if he gets back to the pitwall at all after the Aston Martin investment.

"If Mercedes breaks apart due to internal problems, I'm curious to see what will happen to their performance."

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