Last month the news was that the proposed Michael Andretti buyout of the Sauber F1 team had hit the rocks and would no longer be happening. This month the speculation is that Audi is interested in buying McLaren while Porsche is looking at purchasing Williams.
There’s a reason for it all: money. With the cost cap coming into full force and a fairer income distribution among teams, all while F1’s income is projected to grow, F1 teams for the first time can look at being very profitable operations. Despite Covid restrictions, the 2021 season is set to be a record profit year for F1. The huge Qatar and Saudi Arabia race-hosting fees play no small part in that. Around 60% of those profits are shared out between the teams – but their costs, by regulation, cannot increase. As such, for the first time F1 teams are being saved from themselves. That extra income becomes profit rather than being spent on more facilities to make the car go 0.1sec faster.
“Costs are fixed, the income is known,” says Toto Wolff, a one-third equity owner of the Mercedes-AMG F1 team. “A real business model is developing from this. Mercedes and its team are making a profit this year.” Other teams are expected to follow Mercedes into profitability.