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F1 staff on leave after virus leads to shortfall

F1 STAFF will be put on enforced leave and paid out of the government furlough scheme while its bosses also take a salary cut due to the coronavirus crisis.

With the first nine races of the season having been called off, the sport is facing a significant funding shortfall with its main income streams from race-hosting fees, broadcast rights and sponsorship all being affected.

Around half of F1’s 500 staff will be put on to the job retention scheme, which pays 80 per cent of wages up to £2,500 a month.

Meanwhile, its leadership group will be taking a voluntary reduction of at least 20 per cent, although the pay cut agreed by chairman and chief executive Chase Carey (pictured) is described as being ‘much deeper’ than that.

The move comes after three F1 teams — Williams, Racing Point and McLaren — put sections of their workforce on temporary leave, with their drivers taking a pay cut.

F1’s parent group Liberty Media reportedly has significant resources to help it through the crisis but McLaren chief Zak Brown has warned at least four teams could be lost if the company does not act.

Carey has said he hopes a season of between 15 and 18 races can take place should racing be able to get under way in the summer.

THE Canadian Grand Prix has been postponed as coronavirus continues to affect the Formula One calendar. Montreal was due to host the first race of the disrupted 2020 season on June 14 but the pandemic has seen it become the ninth grand prix to be called off. A statement on the F1 website read: ‘We would have been honoured to host the first race on the world championship calendar but we are saddened to have to announce the postponement.’ Canadian Grand Prix boss Francois Dumontier said: ‘We will welcome you with open arms at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve as soon as it is safe to do so.’