MARCH 6, 1995

What does it all cost?

Formula 1 teams don't like to talk about their budgets, but our spies have dug up what we believe is a pretty close approximation to the Benetton F1 budget for the 1995 season.

It is worth noting that the top 10 teams, based on their results in the last 16 races (and reassessed twice yearly), have two cars and 5000kgs of spares sent to each race free of charge. Top teams, however, will take as much as 10,000kgs of spares to each race, plus a third car and refueling rigs which will cost around $200,000 this year although freight for non-FOCA teams costs as much as $1.5 million per year.

Engine deals vary. The top teams get free engines, free development, free transportation and even money from the manufacturers. The most expensive customer engine deals cost around $10m, including rebuilds although the average customer deal is around $5m.

There are five Goodyear-contracted teams which get free tires (McLaren, Williams, Benetton, Ferrari and Sauber). The rest pay through the nose. Tires are expensive, costing $550 each. Each car uses seven sets a race meeting (not including wets). This means that each GP costs a team $30,800 in tires and a season costs $492,800. Testing adds to this bill. A team uses an average of three sets per car per day and some teams test as many as 75 car/days a year, costing $49,500 a year.

Staff expenditure is dependent on the number of people employed. The middle-ranking F1 designers earn as much as $500,000 a year. The top men get over $1m. Smaller teams have fewer staff and so overall costs are less and they tend to sacrifice R&D budgets to pay for engines, tires and travel.

Capital equipment includes the cost of mortgages on factories, machinery, trucks and motorhomes. With computer-controlled machinery such as autoclaves, windtunnels and four-poster rigs a factory can swallow as much money as a team is able to invest. A current F1 tractor/trailer unit costs $400,000 and the big teams each have three such combinations. F1 motorhomes cost around $400,000.


Budget estimates


Mild Seven (Japan Tobacco) $22.00mMichael Schumacher$10.00m

Benetton Sports System$ 5.00mJohnny Herbert$ 1.00m

Bitburger$ 4.00mTest driver $ 0.10m

Small sponsors$ 2.10mSalaries (200 people) $ 7.00m

Elf$ 2.00mStar salaries (5 people)$ 2.00m

FOCA TV & prize money $ 8.00mCar-building$ 7.00m

Gearbox hire to Simtek$ 0.20mTesting$ 3.00m

Travel, company jet$ 3.00m

Freight$ 0.20m

Capital investment$ 4.00m

Administration$ 1.00m

Research & Development$ 5.00m

Total income$43.30mTotal expenditure$43.30m