How much does it cost?
Ever wondered just where all the money gets spent in an Fl season?
The market is depressed right now, with Alain Prost’s retirement and Ayrton Senna’s death. Gerhard Berger is on around £8M at Ferrari, Michael Schumacher £3M or so at Benetton. Others get a lot less. Nigel Mansell, meanwhile, is looking for nearly £750,000 a race at Williams. Remember, you need two drivers, and probably a cheap upcomer for testing at around £50,000 in case your prima donnas tire themselves out counting all their money.
If you’re lucky you have a freebie deal with a manufacturer which pays for everything, including rebuilds. If you’re not, and have to pay full whack, this could set you back around £3M to £4M.
Racing cars don’t come cheap, when you look at all the research that goes into them before any material is cut. With wind tunnel testing, and the price of carbon fibre structures and autoclaving, you’d be lucky to get by on much less than £4.5M a year.
Goodyear has a monopoly, but only supplies Williams, McLaren, Benetton, Ferrari and Sauber gratis. The rest have to pay. At a fraction under £370 per tyre, seven sets per car per race meeting (more if it rains), and 16 races a year, that’s expensive, although there are bonuses for top three finishes. And don’t forget, you’ll need more for testing. . Budget for EM and you won’t be far wrong.
The top teams get theirs free, but what if you don’t? Allow another E1/4M for fuel and lubricants if you have to pay.
16 races, in some far flung places. . . F1 isn’t cheap. Consider that you start in Brazil, go to Japan, and are then off to Canada within another four races, plus that you end in Japan and Australia. and have to shift anything up to 30 team members round the globe… Even with most of them in steerage class and sharing rooms, flights, hotels and hire cars are going to account for at least ElM.
You’ve also got to shift the equipment, and only the top 10 teams in the World Championship (assessed half-yearly) get to take two cars and some five tonnes of equipment free of charge under the FOCA arrangement for ‘flyaway’ races. If you’re outside the top 10, or carry more than that, you pay. You have your big trucks for European races. All told, allow another £1M.
Well, someone’s got to run the team, design the cars, and clean the factory. The sky’s the limit here, but most teams vary between 50 and 150 personnel. Start at E3M and keep counting.
Research and development is the lifeblood of any F) team. Stand still and you wither. This really is an endless piece of string, that runs from the CAD-CAM office, through the wind tunnel, to the experimental shop and off to the test track. Start at E1M and watch the money go.
Such is the hi-tech nature of El that you’ll need state-ofthe-art CAD-CAM equipment back at the factory, amortised over three to five years. Start at £1 M.
Say you have a reasonable team with FOCA rights but no engine, tyre or fuel deals, running a reasonable pair of drivers that together cost you El M, and you could be looking at a minimum just to go racing of around E14.5M Of course, if you really want to win you’d start by doubling that, at least. Start looking for those sponsor contact numbers . . . DAVID TREMAYNE