Penrite Racing team boss Barry Ryan has opened up on how his team has made initial concessions to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic amid the postponement of the Supercars season.
Supercars managed to complete just one event – the season opening Superloop Adelaide 500 last month – before the coronavirus crisis forced the cancellation of the Albert Park race weekend and postponements of the Tasmania, New Zealand and Perth events.
As it stands, there will be no racing until June – but due to the fluidity of the pandemic, predicted restarts of sporting leagues worldwide are changing all the time.
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Regardless, the financial implications of the pandemic have seen several sports leagues and franchises make drastic decisions in order to attempt to guarantee their survival.
For Supercars teams, a lack of racing means a lack of income from race weekends, but the category remains committed to delivering a full 14-event schedule.
Speaking to Fox Sports’ The Loud Pedal podcast, Erebus Motorsport CEO Ryan explained how his team has made initial plans to help its staff.
“Myself and [team owner Betty Klimenko] are passionate about not losing our team and getting through this,” he told the podcast.
“We’re initially paying out peoples’ sick pay that they’re owed. We don’t have to do that, but as a team, we’re doing that.
“Eventually we’ll try and get rid of everybody’s accrued annual leave and can see from there what we can achieve.
“We want to keep the doors open as much as we can so as soon as we can go racing, we’ll be ready to go.”
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As government restrictions continue to change almost daily, companies have had to adapt and make significant calls on business directions. In many cases, employees have been laid off or stood down.
However, while Ryan said plans are being put in place at his team amid the crisis, he acknowledged the human side of the pandemic and stressed the safety of his staff.
“We shut down the shop last Friday just after lunch, we made the early call,” he said.
“We had to make sure we were in a position where everybody could be comfortable at home with their families and make their own decisions.
“We wanted to pass it over to our individuals to say, ‘You do what makes you feel comfortable, you’re going to have at least two weeks off, just get through it’.”
Should Supercars manage to hold 14 events in 2020, it could force short turnarounds between race weekends. Motivated to return to the track as soon as possible, Ryan said that scenario may require teams to work together and help each other with manpower and resources at the track, saying: “If we have to do 14 rounds in 14 weeks, we’re up for it”.
While racing is where the Penrite squad and its rivals make their presence felt, Ryan suggested guaranteeing the positions and finances of his staff remains the immediate priority.
“We’ve done a worst case scenario where we don’t race again this year and we don’t get any income and we know what we need,” he continued.
“That’s what we’re working on, and we’ve got a plan of how we can make that work, but it’s not going to be easy on anyone.
“Then we’ve got plans for if we don’t race for three months, or six weeks, and we’ve got different scenarios in place, and we’re comfortable to get through at least until the end of the year.
“Then we’ll know if we’re hopefully ready to go for 2021. I don’t think it’s going to be that bad, but we’ll wait and see.”