McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes if Formula 1 doesn’t handle the coronavirus crisis correctly it could risk losing as many as four teams.
The delayed start to the season is having a financial impact on the entire F1 grid, with all facing the likelihood of a lack of future income.
Given driver and team personnel salaries are still to be paid off, Brown feels a way to ease financial pressures would be to lower the 2021 budget cap to $100m.
He warns the situation has put the championship in a “very fragile” position that could have disastrous consequences if not tackled appropriately.
“This is potentially devastating to teams,” Brown told BBC Sport. “And if [it is devastating] to enough teams, which doesn’t have to mean more than two, then very threatening to F1 as a whole.
“Could I see – through what is going on right now in the world if we don’t tackle this situation head on very aggressively – two teams disappearing? Yeah.
“In fact, I could see four teams disappearing if this isn’t handled the right way.
“And then, given how long it takes to ramp up an F1 team, and given the economic and health crisis we are in right now, to think there would be people lined up to take over those teams like there has historically been… I don’t think the timing could be worse from that standpoint.
“So I think F1 is in a very fragile state at the moment.”
Brown said teams have agreed to a lower budget cap that will go from $175m to $150m as of next year.
It is understood the majority of the grid – including reigning champions Mercedes – are willing to accept a further compromise.
“You have everyone at $150m, and the strong majority – including one of the big teams – willing to come substantially under $150m,” Brown said.
“If we don’t make an aggressive enough budget cap and some people feel they have to top up this year and have no chance of getting it back, then they ask themselves: Why are they in it?
“I don’t think anyone competes in F1 just to make up the numbers.
“A couple of the teams are putting their sporting interests well ahead of the greater good and missing the point that they are really running the risk of jeopardising the sport – and then we all lose.”