London: McLaren became the first Formula One team to furlough staff because of the coronavirus on Wednesday, with drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz joining senior management in taking a pay cut.
The sportscar maker said in a statement the temporary three-month wage reduction was part of wider cost-cutting measures due to the impact of the pandemic on its business.
McLaren drivers Lando Norris (left) and Carlos Sainz have taken a pay cut.Credit:AP
Britain has ordered 10,000 of the breathing machines.
The majority of the Formula One team, who are currently on a three-week factory shutdown brought forward from August due to the season being on hold, will be furloughed from next week with McLaren making up some of the difference.
Those not furloughed, from McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown downwards, will work on reduced pay.
The team spokesman said British 20-year-old Norris and Spaniard Sainz were adamant they too wanted to play their part.
With racing unlikely to start until the European summer at the earliest, F1 sources have said the teams – a majority based in Britain – are discussing extending the shutdown.
Non-essential businesses are closed in Britain because of the virus and the authorities have asked everyone to stay at home.
McLaren, whose Formula One team are the second most successful after Ferrari in terms of races and championships won, is majority owned by Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat.
Formula One teams, unless owned by car manufacturers, derive much of their budget from the sport's revenues, prize money and sponsorship and face a major financial hit if races do not happen.
They have already agreed to defer major rule changes from 2021 to 2022 to cut costs and to race next year with the same cars.
Meanwhile, British Grand Prix organisers have set an end of April deadline to decide whether the country's race goes ahead as scheduled in July or becomes another casualty of the coronavirus.
The race, a highlight of a British sporting summer that looks likely to be wiped out by the pandemic, has been the best attended on the F1 calendar in recent seasons with a total crowd of 351,000 last year.
The Sunday turnout at the former World War Two airfield in central England was 141,000 in 2019, with the race close to home for seven of the sport's 10 teams including six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.
Britain's Hamilton won at Silverstone last year for a record sixth time.
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