F1 costs – money is the name of the game

With the F1 costs being questioned once again in the past week, our F1 reporter TOM WILKINSON casts his eye on the commercial aspect of the sport and asks, is Formula 1 becoming too expensive?

Tom Wilkinson strides around the F1 paddock.
Tom Wilkinson strides around the F1 paddock.

It’s a funny question, in this commercial world we live in, money rules. But sport is becoming increasingly more expensive across the board. But looking at Formula 1, it is always going to be expensive, racing cars is no game. But we’ve seen some well respected, talented drivers replaced by young and somewhat inexperienced racers.

The reason behind this? Money. Drivers who have multi-billion dollar companies backing them, teams are taking advantage of that by putting them into a race seat.

The latest casualty has been Timo Glock. He’s an experienced racer who should have more time in F1, he still has plenty of racing to give. His successor is likely to be a young GP2 driver with a big bag of cash behind him.

Marussia need the finances, and worryingly they are not alone. Even the likes of Force India are said to be in financial difficulties. In this world of vicious competition, being just 0.2 seconds ahead costs millions of pounds.

But there is hope, many Formula 1 officials including Bernie Ecclestone agree that the sport’s cost must be lowered. Travelling around the world for 19 weekends a year is not going to be cheap, but cracking down on costs inside the factories is the key.

Developing the cars, testing and examining each tiny detail, wind tunnels, all the highly technical computer systems, the costs are just eye watering.

Drivers who are supported by companies bring enormous amounts of money and commercial opportunity to the teams. This pays for a lot of these costs and allow development of the car to progress.

Some sponsors will provide teams with equipment, technology and support, saving costs. But looking ahead to the future it is concerning, as experience and quality appears to be less important, and money is the main factor. I just hope that in the future costs can be lowered, and the quality of racing remains the same.

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