We all know that Formula One is one of the most expensive forms of motorsport, but sometimes we need a reminder of just how costly things end up being. Mercedes has gone ahead and released plenty of figures regarding the cost of running a championship-winning F1 team in 2018.
After taxes, Mercedes F1 actually earned £13.3 million ($16.36 million), Motorsport.com reports. All told, F1 prize money, sponsorship and cash thrown in by Daimler AG hit £338.4 million in 2018. The team, meanwhile, only spent £311.4 million. How economical of them!
Consciously I know F1 is not a particularly profitable business, but it’s actually a little mind-boggling to realize the disparity between how much money a team makes compared to how much it spends. Without the £128.8 million ($158.4 million) Mercedes received just for showing up in 2018 having scored well in the past few seasons, it would have been significant in the red.
The disparity between earnings and spendings really highlights how tough it can be for teams to make their way to the top of the charts. One bad season, for example, and a team like Williams suddenly loses thousands of pounds of prize money. Without that prize money, they have less to spend on developing the next year’s car, which can contribute to further poor results.
Mercedes only spent £1.7 million ($2.09 million) more on development in 2018 than it did in 2017, implying that the team was pleased with the performance of the car and anticipated another successful year with a relatively similar car.
However, Motorsport.com brings up a really good point:
There is no outward sign yet of the team addressing the cost cap that is coming in 2021, and which will force the big three teams to trim spending and inevitably head counts.
Generally, seasons involving sweeping regulation changes end up involving a lot of monetary investment upfront for research, development, design, and production. But with a cost cap coming alongside those changes, it will be fascinating to see how the championship plays out.