FIA president Jean Todt says everything must be done to encourage manufacturers to remain in F1 despite the inevitable economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The global pandemic has left businesses around the world counting costs, and the automobile industry is no exception.
The conjunction of a paradigm shift to electric mobility and a sudden economic downturn that will force manufacturers to rein in costs could compel them to kill off their F1 programs.
"I don't think that the priority number one now for a manufacturer is to secure continuity in motor racing," the FIA president told Motorsport.com.
"I was just reading a UN report today on the Sustainable Development Goal, which is planning 25 million people losing their job. So in a way that's why I do respect the program of each company.
"But if a company is losing a few dozens of people in a racing team, I don't think it is dramatic. The thing that would be dramatic will be to lose four teams in F1 for example."
Todt believes F1 should therefore tread lightly and refrain from encouraging a manufacturer to disengage from the sport at such a crucial time.
"That's why we must listen to everybody. Even the big ones, you must never take anything for granted. So we must consider everything," he said.
"Again we must be humble, we love it [motor racing] but it is not essential for society. So we must make sure that we make proper choices, proper decisions.
"I hope a few team owners or team sponsors will keep the motivation," he added.
"That's why we must make sure we don't discourage them, because they may say 'OK, after all of that, what is the purpose? Do I still like it? Do I still need it?'
"So we must encourage them to make sure they still like it and they still need it. On that, we have a responsibility."
Since the onslaught of the current crisis, the FIA president has become a big supporter of reducing F1's budget cap threshold.
Teams agreed earlier this week to a cutback to $150m, but Todt, siding with the demands from the sport's smaller outfits, is determined to see the limit further lowered.
"In each disaster, in each crisis, you have a lot of bad but you have some good," he said. "So, among the good is that we have the opportunity of making things better for the future.
"And mainly in F1, we reached some heights, which for me are not reasonable and which we need to address.
"Incidentally, I was calculating this morning that with what we want to impose on the teams, together with the F1 group, the budget will be with a new figure between $150 million for a small team up to over $300m for a big one, which does not include the cost of the development of the engine for manufacturers.
"This is still crazy. So can you even imagine where we were? And still we face resistance from some of them!"