Tost says COVID 'opened the eyes' of F1 top teams

Franz Tost (AUT) AlphaTauri Team Principal in the FIA Press Conference. 30.10.2020.
© XPB 

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost says that the arrival of coronavirus and its impact on global motorsport has been the reason Formula 1 has been able to rush though crucial changes.

Until then, F1 bosses had been stuck in extended discussions about new rules including the introduction of a new financial spending cap.

The top teams had been complaining about a new $175m limit to how much they could spend on their operation from 2021. But once coronavirus forced the delay to the start of the 2020 season, everyone soon realised the severity of the situation and pulled together.

The spending cap has now been reduced further to $145m this season and declining further over the nest season.

"The top teams would not have been so open to reduce the amount of money which they want to spend to $145 million for the first year without these COVID-19 problems," Tost told "Everybody realised how difficult it could become in the future.

"Formula 1 teams hardly work together, because everyone has their own interest, and unfortunately do not look at the big picture.

"This special situation with COVID-19 opened the eyes, that there is simply less money on the table as expected.

"If you have less money you can only spend the money which you have," hTost explained. "Therefore, I think that some of my colleagues changed a little bit their minds."

Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic last year, F1 managed to complete a full 17-race season and crowned Lewis Hamilton champion for the seventh time.

But the challenge is not over yet, with 2021 continuing to feel the effects of COVID. The Australian Grand Prix has been pushed back to November and the Chinese race is on indefinite hold, with concerns that some street races may also be affected.

Although the sport is still targeting a record 23-race calendar in 2021, Tost admits that this won't be easy.

"I really hope that we get back to this normal mode," he said. "As you can imagine, FOM hasn't got the money as we forecasted last year.

"If there are no spectators, the organisers don't pay so much money to FOM, and FOM can't provide us with the money we have in our business plan," he added. "Therefore I really hope that we can get everything under control.

"That spectators can come to the races, that the interest is there for Formula 1, that we have a stronger season in 2021, that the revenues will reach the level which we know it should have and which we expected for our business plan."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter