Alesi fearful of sponsor crisis in F1's junior categories

Jonathan Noble

With the coronavirus pandemic set to leave a lasting financial impact on all levels of motor sport, Alesi is worried that there could be already short term consequences that could disrupt the final stages of the 2020 season.

The French-Sicilian, whose son Giuliano is racing for HWA in F2 this year, says sponsors are already showing signs of getting cold feet – and that closed-door events and uncertainty over the calendar are not helping.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Alesi said about the season ahead: “It's going to be terrible. Terrible. Why? Because of course, you know in our category we pay for driving. You need to pay the teams and the price in F2 is very, very high. So most of us, most of the fathers, we have still to pay for it.

“In my case I am at the race track, I bring some sponsors, some partners to the F1 paddock, and they enjoy the weekend with Giuliano. In the meantime they watch the F1.

“But that is going to be over because this season everything [at the track] is going to be just drivers and the technical crew. So I'm facing some troubles already. The sponsors are not very happy to follow it, because they they have no advantage to be on an F2 car and that is going to be very difficult.”

He added: “This season, the drivers who already have some sponsorship, the sponsors pull out, they already sent the letters and said: 'okay bye bye, because you will have everything [the whole season] in two months.’

“In these two months time, all the sports around the world, they start at the same time. So, what will be the space for F2 when there is Champions League, the Italian football Serie A and then F1 and then sports cars all together? It is going to be difficult.”

Giuliano Alesi, BWT HWA Racelab

Giuliano Alesi, BWT HWA Racelab Motorsport.com

Motorsport.com

Alesi hoped that motor racing’s governing body the FIA, and commercial rights holders Liberty were aware of the troubles young drivers could face this year – as he said it was particularly difficult in junior categories because drivers are so reliant on personal backers.

“The solution I don't have it,” he said. “We have seen for F1 that there is a very strong group and especially Ross Brawn and Jean Todt, these people did everything in motorsport so they understand the mechanism.

“So they for sure know how to react. I hope it will be quick enough to save this season for the kids.”

Motorsport.com

Motorsport.com