LONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 6 – Williams and Racing Point became the latest Formula One teams to furlough staff due to the coronavirus as their drivers also agreed to take pay cuts on Monday.
Formula One’s 2020 season has been delayed because of the pandemic and Williams and Racing Point announced their cost-cutting moves a week after McLaren opted to take the same financial measures.
Canadian Nicholas Latifi and Briton George Russell, along with senior Williams executives, have taken a 20 percent pay cut from April 1, with the other staff put on an enforced leave until the end of May.
McLaren drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris took voluntary pay cuts last week.
“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 Williams statement said.
“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.”
As well as furloughing some staff, Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, the son of the team’s billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll, will accept a cut in their wages, although the percentage was not specified.
“I can now confirm that some of the team’s staff have been placed on temporary furlough,” a Racing Point spokesperson told AFP.
“Our drivers will also take a voluntary pay cut.”
Last month, the UK government said it would pay 80 percent of salaries for staff who are put on furlough by their employer, covering wages up to 2,500 pounds ($3,077, 2,846 euros) per month in a bid to help companies retain their workforce and prevent redundancies during the health crisis.
But the furlough of non-playing staff by wealthy Premier League football clubs has caused huge controversy.
Liverpool and Tottenham are among the top-flight teams to have been criticised for using the government’s money to pay staff when they have owners worth millions and players on huge contracts.
F1 team bosses and the sport’s management were set to meet on Monday to discuss ways to protect the sport as it suffers a loss of income.
Teams are reportedly discussing a reduction of the budget cap, which was already due to come in force in 2021 at $175 million.