Williams F1 drivers take 20% pay cut, staff go on furlough

LONDON: ROKiT Williams drivers, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, and senior management will be taking a 20% pay cut during the coronavirus crisis while many of their employees will be temporarily furloughed, the Formula One team said on Monday.

Williams joins fellow British Formula One team McLaren who last week furloughed staff while their drivers and senior management had their wages reduced temporarily for a three-month period to reduce costs with the season on a hiatus.

“ROKiT Williams Racing is temporarily furloughing a number of employees as part of a wider range of cost-cutting measures,” the team said in a statement.

“The furlough period will last until the end of May whilst senior management, and our drivers, have taken a pay cut of 20% effective from April 1.”

Under the scheme announced by British finance minister Rishi Sunak announced last month, furloughed workers can claim 80% of their wages up to £2,500 pounds per month.

“These decisions have not been taken lightly,” the statement added. “Our aim is to protect the jobs of our staff… and ensuring they can return to full-time work when the situation allows.”

The 2020 Formula One season, that was scheduled to begin in Melbourne last month, is yet to get underway after the pandemic cancelled the Australian and Monaco Grands Prix.

Races in Bahrain, Vietnam, China, the Netherlands, Spain and Azerbaijan were also postponed, with racing unlikely to start until the European summer at the earliest.