McLaren Formula One racers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris have both agreed to take a voluntary pay cut as many team members have been furloughed. The McLaren factory is all but shut down in the wake of an F1 season delayed by the spread of coronavirus across the globe.
The team based in Woking, Surrey has become the first F1 team to confirm it has taken the UK Government’s job retention plan, which allows employers to put staff on leave while paying them £2,500 per month (around $3100). Sainz and Norris will allegedly be receiving the same 2,500 quid checks (cheques?) as the rest of the team. CEO Zak Brown and all of the other senior management of the team have agreed to pay cuts, but did not clarify how much would be cut.
“The McLaren Group is temporarily furloughing a number of employees as part of wider cost-cutting measures due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business,” a McLaren spokesperson said. “These measures are focused on protecting jobs in the short-term to ensure our employees return to full-time work as the economy recovers.”
According to GQ, Carlos Sainz was set to make $5,800,000 during the 2020 season, while Lando Norris was on track for just $370,000. Both numbers include the individual racers’ endorsement deals. Assuming these endorsement deals still stand, both drivers will still probably make a decent chunk of their income from those sponsor engagements, rather than paid out by the team.
As a long-time follower of Formula One, it is a little strange to see the team that paid a $100 million fine in 2007 working on austerity measures to make it through this temporary shut down. But, without any races running at the moment, the team is facing a lengthy period of great expense and no income.
Many measures have already been taken to reduce the expense teams are seeing, including moving the annual mandatory factory shut-down “summer break” from August to April. Especially in McLaren’s case, it is likely that shut-down will extend at least a couple of months. Further, the teams have already agreed to freeze development in 2020, extend the use of 2020 chassis through the end of 2021, and are discussing extending that through the end of 2022.
Formula One has been a rich guy sport for a long time, with budgets in the hundreds of millions, but it’s on the verge of crashing down around us. How long can these teams last without any income from the sport? I shudder at the thought.