Friday 27 March at 07:35 :
Mar.27 (GMM) "The biggest crisis" in Formula 1 history could result in a mass exodus of teams.
That is the dire warning of Frederic Vasseur, boss of the Alfa Romeo team formerly known as Sauber.
"This is the biggest crisis - I can't remember a situation in which Formula 1 was facing a bigger challenge," he told Canal Plus.
"We have already had to postpone a third of the planned races, which has never happened before. The coronavirus is a hard blow for the teams and we must act."
Indeed, eight races have already been cancelled or postponed, Canada and France are in doubt, and the global pandemic is raging in each of the other F1 venues on the original 2020 calendar.
"Formula 1 was also heavily burdened by the financial crisis of 2008," Vasseur said.
"There were three or four car manufacturers who left Formula 1 at the time and it is not wrong to think that this could happen again.
"Because if further races fail, then at some point no more money will flow from the proceeds of the TV rights. We have to look for solutions now," he insisted.
"If we don't find an appropriate response, it will be very difficult in the coming months."
F1's floated share price has collapsed, and F1 business journalist Christian Sylt is writing in the Telegraph that JP Morgan is worried Liberty Media could "breach" the covenants of almost $3 billion in debt.
"Everyone must now be clear that we are in the same boat," Vasseur continued.
"We now have to stick together very urgently, which is something the big teams haven't always understood.
"Fortunately, I currently see the will to do the right things here. The teams quickly agreed that we should postpone the new regulations. Decisions that would have been controversial three months ago are logical today.
"That is the way to go," Vasseur added. "Otherwise the survival of some teams is at stake. It will only work if everyone pulls together, that's the naked truth."