January 26, 2021

Coronavirus in Formula 1: Williams drivers take pay cut as staff put on leave

Williams have put a number of staff on furlough and given their drivers and senior management a pay cut as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Their move follows a similar step by McLaren last week.

Williams said in a statement that “a number of employees” would be out on enforced leave until the end of May “as part of wider cost-cutting measures”.

Drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, and senior management, have taken a 20% pay cut from 1 April.

A statement from the team said: “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.”

Timeline: Coronavirus’ impact on sporting events
Williams’ measures come against the backdrop of a meeting of team bosses and F1 management on Monday aimed at taking further steps to protect the sport as it suffers a loss of income as a result of the absence of races.

Teams are discussing a reduction of the budget cap, already due to come into force in 2021 at $175m (£143m). But there is disagreement as to whether it should come down to $150m (£122m) or a lower figure.

That is just one of a series of steps taken to protect the sport.

These include delaying the introduction of new rules by a year until 2022 and forcing teams to use the same cars both this season, once it starts, and in 2021.

The meeting will also discuss a proposal to delay the new rules by a further year, until 2023.

McLaren boss Zak Brown told BBC Sport on Sunday that the future of Formula 1 was at risk unless drastic action was taken.

The racing driver turned PPE delivery man

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