The coronavirus crisis could lead to Formula 1’s already postponed 2021 rules revolution being pushed back further to 2023, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said on Tuesday.
The package has so far been delayed to 2022 to save costs at a time when the sport and teams are facing a significant loss of revenues due to the lack of racing as countries go into lockdown.
The season has yet to start and so far two of the planned 22 races have been cancelled — the Australian opener and May’s Monaco showcase — and six postponed with no action likely before the European summer.
F1 has said teams will continue to use this year’s cars in 2021.
“We’re also talking about pushing back a further year the new regulations, because in my mind it would be totally irresponsible to have the burden of development costs in 2021,” Horner told the BBC.
“There seems to be reasonable agreement but it needs ratifying by the FIA to push back those development costs into 2022 for introduction in the ‘23 season.
“The most important thing we need now is stability.”
F1 derives most of its revenues from hosting fees, global television contracts and sponsorship and faces a massive financial hit if grands prix cannot be run, but Horner said the sport would survive.
“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,” he added.
Red Bull’s head of driver development Helmut Marko said at the weekend that commercial rights holder Liberty Media expected a loss of $200-300m in revenue.
Marko also astonished many in that interview with Austrian broadcaster ORF when he revealed he had suggested it would be good for Red Bull’s drivers to get infected with coronavirus now so they would not get sick once racing resumed.
Horner, whose team are actively involved in a ‘Project Pitlane’ initiative to make more ventilators, said Marko’s comments had never been taken seriously.
“It was in many ways a throwaway comment before understanding the seriousness of the pandemic,” he said.
“Things like the ventilator project we are working on demonstrate how seriously we are taking this and how much effort’s going behind it.”