Team budgets crash as the recession bites Fl

Formula 1 team budgets dropped by more than 10 per cent in the tough economic climate of 2009, according to research in the new edition of Formula Money, the annual data guide to the business of F1.

The average team budget fell to $271.6 million, compared to $302.8m in the previous year, while total budgets plummeted from $3.1bn to $2.7bn as some of the biggest spenders withdrew from F1. On the sponsorship front, Baugur, Credit Suisse, Dell and ING all quit during the last year and this contributed to an 8.5 per cent drop in sponsorship and supplier deals from $895.75m down to $819.55m.

However, it was the manufacturer cutbacks that hit teams the worst. Team owner spending plummeted 30 per cent from $1.6bn to $1.1bn as the car makers looked to reduce costs, but it was still the biggest source of revenue for the teams at 41 per cent of the total. This situation is likely to change in 2010 as the car makers are replaced by smaller teams on significantly lower budgets.

Formula Money also estimates that McLaren was the team with the biggest available resources in 2009 at $483.85m, which included $225m from Mercedes and $159m in sponsorship. Toyota contributed more to its team than any other car maker at $255m, but smaller takings in terms of sponsorship and prize money meant that it had only the second biggest budget after McLaren at $411.35m. Ferrari had the third biggest budget at $370.75m and also drew the biggest sponsorship haul at $208m.

Brawn’s budget was only the seventh largest and, at some $162.75m, was just over a third of McLaren’s, although the World Champion team benefited from substantial spending on the car in 2008 when Honda was still on board. Even in ’09, the car maker spent $100m on the team as part of the process of severing its Formula 1 involvement.

Christian Sylt and Caroline Reid

Estimated budgets of teams in 2009

Team: Total
McLaren: $483.85m
Toyota: $411.35m
Ferrari: $370.75m
Renault: $346.6m
BMW: $334.85m
Red Bull: $200m
Brawn: $162.75m
Toro Rosso: $160.4m
Williams: $123.75m
Force India: $120.25m
Total: $2,714.55m
Source: Formula Money