F1 rides the recession

Accounts filed at UK's Companies House reveal that F1 teams earned 21% more prize money in 2010, up from $544m to $658m.

Part of that is explained by 2010's three new teams, which were pledged $30m each when they joined the championship.

The figures reveal that Formula One Administration turned over $1082m in 2010, up from $1063m, generating profits of $296m, an increase of $19m. Canada returned to the schedule last year and Korea was a lucrative addition. There were also new sponsorship deals with UBS and LG.

Commercial rights holder CVC Capital Partners is still paying heavy interest charges on $2.8 billion it borrowed to fund the sport's acquisition in 2006, however.

The accounts also show that as of January, FOA Ltd has handed over all commercial rights to a new company, Formula One World Championship Ltd. The labyrinthine nature of F1's ownership has always been complex but the new company may simply signal a cleaning up of the structure to coincide with the beginning of the 100-year commercial rights lease that Bernie Ecclestone acquired in 2001 for $386m, to begin this year, and which then formed the basis of the sale to a multitude of different owners, culminating in CVC.

The top earning CVC executive, presumably Bernie Ecclestone, netted a salary of £4.85m - not bad when you've already sold out, less than 10% of the amount he took almost 15 years ago, when he arrived on the radar of the British Labour Party as the highest salaried man in Britain and therefore a potential party donator...

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Stories: APRIL 6, 2011
F1 RIDES THE RECESSION