Honda team got worst value for money in 2008

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Honda’s Grand Prix team may have been at the bottom end of F1’s points standings last year, but it did top one league table – the amount of money spent per point scored.

Honda’s total resources of $398.1m were the fourth-highest of any team, but since it won just 14 constructors’ points, they cost more than those of any of its rivals, at $28.4m each. Remarkably this was almost four times the rate of its nearest rival Toyota, which spent $7.96m per point.

The figures are based on data from the Formula 1 industry monitor Formula Money and demonstrate the dramatic difference in cost between winning and losing in F1. Ferrari got the best value for money in 2008 with its 172 points costing less than a tenth of Honda’s at just $2.41m each. Surprisingly, after Ferrari, BMW made best use of its resources with its total budget of $366.8m yielding 135 points. Each point cost BMW $2.72m, with McLaren not too far behind at $2.87m.

Excluding Super Aguri, which failed to complete the season, the average cost per point for all the teams in 2008 was $6.5m. However, in 2007 this figure was more than double at $17.9m.

This reveals that as the economic downturn began to put pressure on F1 team owners last year, they were forced to get better value for money.

That seems to fly in the face of FIA president Max Mosley’s theory that the spending of F1 team owners would continue to accelerate regardless of the performance achieved.

Again, the big exception to this was Honda, which spent almost double the amount per point in 2007 than in ’08 with its final haul costing on average $57.2m apiece.

But although a team’s management can have good control over its costs and ability to perform on track, it becomes harder to improve value for money if they are all at a similar level.

For example, in 2007 McLaren’s disqualification from the F1 constructors’ championship meant that Ferrari collected almost double the points tally of second-placed BMW, and accordingly its cost per point was just $1.9m. However, last year the constructors’ championship was much closer with Ferrari beating McLaren by 21 points, and because it got fewer points its cost was higher at $2.41m.

This year the cost per point should go further downhill as the FIA’s spending cuts come into force, at last putting the brakes on the blockbuster team budgets of past years.