Brexit’s Impact on F1 Teams: Nostalgia For Better Times

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The F1 industry is based, for the most part, in the United Kingdom: the country hosts, in a region north of London, the factories of most teams.

Only Ferrari and Alfa Romeo are truly based elsewhere (even Haas and AlphaTauri have bases in the UK, in Banbury and Bicester).

But Brexit, now effective, complicates the life of F1 teams in the United Kingdom. A fear, which was already expressed several years ago (see our article), materializes today: the problem of human resources.

Admittedly, the specter of Hard Brexit has been dismissed (see our article), which could even have called into question the presence of F1 across the Channel. And certainly again, the United Kingdom is still very, very attractive for F1.

But the fact remains that labor immigration has become tougher in the United Kingdom and that it is more complex, especially bureaucratically, to attract talent to the country, for work permit reasons.

Not to mention the logistics which have become more complex with more border controls.

As a reminder, the motorsport industry in the United Kingdom employs more than 40,000 people… with a payroll equivalent to nearly $11.5 billion according to the British Motorsport Association.

And a good part of the talents are not just British, but come from all over Europe and even the world. This of course complicates the recruitment process in terms of work permits and residence cards, so many complex formalities which also affect apprentices, trainees, students and even tourists in the United Kingdom…

Faced with these difficulties, and since the F1 industry is of high added value for the Kingdom, Stefano Domenicali and team bosses met in Downing Street recently, with the Secretary of State for Culture, to Media and Sports Lucy Frazer, on the sidelines of this weekend’s Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Present at the meeting, Otmar Szafnauer, the boss of Alpine (whose chassis factory is based in Enstone), thus summed up the claims of the F1 teams.

“We had a good meeting with the government and asked them to support motorsport in general, to promote the fact that we are working hard to become more sustainable. »

“It’s doable, but it’s not effective. The same applies to the movement of people with a work permit. If they could help us with this, that would be great. »

“They’re doing something similar with the entertainment industry and so they said ‘if we got there, we should look at Formula 1 the same way and try to get there.’ So they have been positive in government. »

One element therefore stands out when hearing Otmar Szafnauer: traffic. People but also goods.

“The parts on our F1 cars… every time we go back and forth, it’s problematic. It’s not effective. It could be much better. It was much better before Brexit. »

But logistics is sometimes a matter of days in F1, especially to bring new parts from Grand Prix to Grand Prix.

Finally, it should be remembered that Brexit has contributed to raising inflation in the United Kingdom: it peaked at 8.7% in April 2023 over one year (6.1% in the euro zone).

This article is originally published on motorsport.nextgen-auto.com

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