The Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto, has said his team would support serious changes to Formula One race weekends so the season can take place.
After the Canadian Grand Prix was the ninth meeting to be called off on Tuesday, Binotto emphasised that F1 teams now needed to be flexible in adapting what has been a long-established format and stated that Ferrari would agree to extend the season into February 2021.
With the race in Montreal postponed, the first meeting that can take place is the French Grand Prix on 28 June, which is also under threat from the coronavirus outbreak. A minimum of eight races are required to constitute a world championship and, with the weekends available rapidly decreasing, Binotto believes F1 may have to take radical action.
“From our side, it is really whatever is needed,” Binotto said. “Short race weekend, double races, whenever it will finish, packing all the races together. Whatever it will be, it’s important to be flexible.”
It is understood that the concepts of running two races over a single grand prix and removing the Friday practice sessions are currently being evaluated, as is the potential of staging the first races that can be held behind closed doors.
F1 is facing a damaging financial blow if racing does not take place and organisers have already discussed extending the 2021 season into next year with teams. Binotto said that Ferrari accepted the proposal. “We are prepared for it, so in case that is the choice, we will support it. I’m not sure that will be the case but whatever will be, I think it’s important from our side to be supportive and making sure that we will do whatever is necessary.”
Revenues will be hit hard by the absence of racing but on Monday the teams failed to come to an agreement on lowering the proposed budget cap of $175m set to be introduced next year. Ferrari are concerned that as a manufacturer of parts for other teams they would be unfairly impeded by a low spending limit. Binotto insisted that now was not the right time to be making such decisions for fear of damaging the sport.
“I think we should avoid really being emotional at the moment,” he said. “We know that we will face difficult situations but we need as well to somehow maintain the DNA, the essence of F1, which is competition. We should not forget what F1 and motor sport is about.”