Money talks louder than ever in Formula One

Sun Nov 2, 2014 2:21pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - Money has always talked in Formula One but now, with Caterham and Marussia in administration and only nine teams in Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix, the talk is increasingly about money itself.

The cost of competing in Formula One has become the hot topic and, with no sign of agreement on how to bring it down and share revenues more equally as smaller teams are demanding, will only become hotter.

The sport, with 19 races this year and 20 scheduled for 2015, has annual turnover in excess of $1.5 billion with more than half of that sum leaving the sport as money due to the commercial rights holders.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone told reporters on Saturday that the teams' share for this year amounted to more than $900 million.

However the prize pot is not split equally among the teams, with cash paid out according to a formula based on past and present performance.

"The problem is there is too much money probably being distributed badly - probably my fault," said Ecclestone, who turned 84 last week.

The latest edition of Britain's Autosport magazine, in estimates corroborated by sources as accurate but not confirmed by the teams, gives a breakdown of the 2013 payouts from Formula One Management.

The sport's oldest and most successful team Ferrari, who were paid a $32 million bonus and $62 million special share of the profits, were top with an estimated $166 million.   Continued...

Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone arrives for the drivers' parade before the first Russian Grand Prix in Sochi October 12, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov