Williams have announced that drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi have joined senior management in taking 20 per cent pay cuts as the team moves to furlough a number of staff during the coronavirus lockdown.

The F1 season is yet to get under way due to the pandemic, with no races scheduled until at least June 14, with the Canadian Grand Prix currently remaining on the schedule.

“Due to the ongoing situation involving Covid-19, ROKiT Williams Racing is temporarily furloughing a number of employees as part of a wider range of cost-cutting measures,” a team statement said.

“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 1st April.”

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

The decision from Williams – who finished last in the Constructors’ Championship last season – follows a similar move from McLaren last week.

The Woking-based team have placed a number of staff on furlough while drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris joined those staff members who continue to work in taking a salary reduction.

Former McLaren team principal Ron Dennis has set up a project to deliver meals to health workers
Former McLaren team principal Ron Dennis has set up a project to deliver meals to health workers (David Davies/PA)

Former McLaren team principal Ron Dennis has also launched an initiative to deliver over one million free meals to NHS workers.

Dennis, who won 17 F1 titles during his 28 years in charge, set up the SalutetheNHS.org project on April 4 through his DreamChasing charity and has a budget of £1.5million to deliver 1,000 meals a day to health workers.

He told BBC Sport: “I wanted a big solution to a big problem.

“It is an amazing effort, which I think is reflective of my reputation. If I say I’m going to do something I do it.”

The 72-year-old was keen to support “where it is needed most – to the epicentre of the war effort against Covid-19” and has the capacity to roll out the project after receiving backing from other business leaders.

Dennis told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It all started to unfold, but the real breakthrough was when I phoned Dave Lewis (chief executive officer) at Tesco and 20 minutes later he phoned back and said: ‘We’re behind you.’

“We had great logistics in place but we needed volume. We now have volume and as we speak we are ramping up.

“The first meals are being prepped to go to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and we’re looking at 1,000 meals a day. It will be challenging, but we will get there.”