F1 needs to be recalibrated to survive COVID-19 crisis - Todt

FIA President Jean Todt says motorsport and Formula 1 is facing a new reality and requires a new approach as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

Speaking for the first time publicly about the crisis in an exclusive interview with Autosport, Todt says F1 costs were "still crazy" and will need to be slashed further to ensure the survival of teams and the series.

He is clear also that motorsport, and in particular F1, will need to be recalibrated in what he describes as a "new deal".

"I don't think that the priority number one now for a manufacturer is to secure continuity in motor racing," he said.

"I am hoping that everyone will stay. That's why we must listen to everybody.

"Even the big ones, you must never take anything for granted.

"So we must consider everything. We must be humble; we love it [motorsport], but it is not essential for society.

"So we must make sure that we make proper choices, proper decisions.

"It will take some time, it will come back and I would really hope that it will come back better."

Todt says the FIA needed to take responsibility to motivate teams to commit to staying, and insisted there was no complacency from the governing body about how difficult the situation was.

"I'm sure that a lot of teams, suppliers, manufacturers, they may have to review their programmes," he added.

"They may be constrained to stop.

"I don't want to be too confident, but I hope a few team owners or team sponsors will keep the motivation.

"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."

Ahead of a further F1 team boss meeting on Friday to discuss reducing the F1 cost cap to help ensure the survival of teams, Todt says the coronavirus crisis offered an opportunity to make the future better.

"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 Formula 1, we reached some heights [with costs], which for me are not reasonable and which we need to address."

The key question facing everyone is when racing might restart, with the opening nine races cancelled or postponed.

However Todt shares the optimism of F1 CEO Chase Carey that a meaningful calendar will still be possible once the lockdowns are lifted.

"Once we know we can start, I think we could really see two-to-three grands prix a month," he said.

"If we start in July/August and go to December, we have six months, from five to six months, multiplied by three."

He indicated that all possible options are on the table for consideration when reformatting a new F1 calendar once the way is clear to restart, though doesn't expect the campaign to run into 2021.

"It's something that has been discussed and it is something in the hands of the commercial rights holders, who could have some commercial contracts," he added.

"So I mean for us as the governing body it's just the decision to say yes or say no, but it doesn't look probable."

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