With confirmation that we’ll only have 18 cars on the grid in Austin this weekend much of the chatter around Formula 1 has been to do with the costs of running a team. People are asking: is F1 in crisis?
Every time serious discussion about putting a cap on spending is raised one of the bigger teams, usually Ferrari or Red Bull, threatens to throw its toys out of the cot in disgust. Clearly, F1 doesn’t want to lose one (or more) of its biggest drawcards and we’re left with a perennial problem; the haves keep winning, which in itself is nothing new, but the have nots keep folding.
The introduction of new regulations this year hasn’t helped matters much. In a bid to highlght the issues at the back of the grid Caterham, Force India, Marussia and Sauber have written to FIA President and former Scuderia Ferrari boss, Jean Todt, saying teams now need around $120 million per year just to stay afloat.
Sauber, usually a team able to compete well with limited funds, hasn’t scored a championship point all year and is currently coming tenth out of 11 teams in the constructors’ title race.
The cost breakdown provided to Todt and revealed by Autosport is as follows:
|Windtunnel/CFD facilities||$18.5 million|
|Chassis production/manufacturing||$20 million|
|Hybrid power system||$28 million|
|Gearbox and hydraulics||$5 million|
|Fuel and lubricants||$1.5 million|
|Salaries (not including drivers)||$20 million|
|HR and professional services||$1.5 million|
|Utilities and factory maintenance||$2 million|
|Travel and trackside facilities||$12 million|
As well as driver salaries, other items not included in the above list are: building leases, hospitality, marketing and media. Obviously, teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull are spending a lot more than that, while Caterham and Marussia are (or were) spending a lot less.
No form of motorsport, no matter how good it should be, is any good if teams can’t afford to race.