Haas’ Steiner reveals key lesson learned from F1 crisis

Haas boss Guenther Steiner says the current economic downturn has highlighted Formula 1 teams’ propensity to operate “too much on the edge”.

The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the F1 calendar but also on Grand Prix racing’s finances, with teams unexpectedly deprived of income and struggling to make ends meet.

Commercial rights holder Liberty Media, along with the FIA and in concertation with the teams, has implemented several cost saving measures to help safeguard the sport, and especially its smaller midfield competitors, during these difficult times.

From a freeze on research and development to extending the life of this year’s chassis designs into 2021 and to the introduction next year of a long-awaited budget cap, no effort has been spared to protect F1’s future.

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    Steiner: Budget cap is ‘stake in the ground’ for new manufacturers

But as the boss of one of F1’s most vulnerable teams on the grid, Steiner has taken away a key realization from the current crisis.

“In the end what it shows to me is that as businesses, we are too much on the edge,” Steiner told in its latest #thinkingforward series.

“Any little distraction takes us off the edge, you know, which isn’t good.

“We don’t have any reserve fuel in the tank, I would say. And I’m not referring just to money, I think on everything.

“You’re just not thinking that there could be a bump on the road, you’re just thinking it’s smooth sailing all the way.”

While F1’s cost saving measures will help everyone weather the storm, Steiner urges Liberty Media to consider its current financial approach as a new norm that must be sustained moving forward, even when the sport’s economics recover.

“We came together and decided on a budget cap, a lower one and it is a good initiative,” said the Italian.

“We decided very quickly that we take the car forward from this year to next year… and the 2022 regulations should make the car cheaper.

“I think we learned already some [lessons from it]. Now, we need to make sure that we don’t forget about and then, when the good times come, the first thing we do is, ‘oh let’s discuss about taking the budget cap up again, or take it away’.

“I don’t think it will happen. But I will keep it in my mind that we shouldn’t be doing it. And that is how we come out stronger.”

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