Think about the most expensive car you have ever seen with your own eyes. Perhaps the Bugatti Chiron for an easy $3 million or the Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita for just under $5 million? A 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari? But have you considered how much a single Formula 1 car might cost?
Based on the reporting from Autosport, these cars alone can cost anywhere from $150 million to upwards of $400 million to create and maintain.
What goes in to a $400 million Formula One car?
To be totally fair, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari Formula One Team have some of the fastest cars out there. That $400 million is going to the newest, most high-tech, lightweight, car bits and pieces that exist. On the flip side, smaller teams like Williams Racing spend somewhere around $150 million.
Wheels, tires, safety equipment, aerodynamics, front wing, back wing, and everything in between have to be created a put together on the cars. Every year the cars are modified to be faster and safer, which takes time and money. Formula 1 has come a long way as far as safety goes, but the teams also have to stay ahead of the curve.
Based on the results of last year’s race, you can see that the amount of money put into the car correlates with the team’s success. Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, and McLaren Renault were the top-performing teams.
These teams also have huge budgets. Alfa Romeo Racing, Haas, and Williams were the bottom three. These teams definitely have smaller budgets and smaller teams to do the work.
Would you rather have a fleet of Ferraris or a single Formula 1 car?
Most people would rather have a few Ferraris over an F1 car. That’s understandable. However, Formula 1 is a big business. It is one of the biggest global sports that exists. Each year, about 20 different countries host different races.
These races bring in a lot of money for the areas that host the events. Fans and teams spend a week or so in the area pumping money into the local economy.
Some of the Ferraris you could purchase instead of running a Formula 1 team include a 1962 Ferrari GTO 250. According to Business Insider, that sold for $48.4 million back in 2018. You could buy this 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari currently available from James Edition for $2,749,950.
You could get a 2004 Ferrari Enzo for just over $3 million. This 1963 Ferrari GTO sold a few years ago for $70 million, making it the most expensive Ferrari ever sold at the time (per CNBC). Technically, you could buy all of those. A few times.
What does it cost to run a Formula 1 team?
According to SportsPledge, Formula 1 ranks number seven in the most popular sports in the world. F1 has an annual television audience of over $500 million.
The sport generates between $1.5 to $2 billion a year. The teams also spend between $100 million and $400 million on top-level engineers, research, development, teams, and drivers.
Sure, having a Ferrari sounds fun, but having an F1 team sounds better. There is a reason the teams with bigger names have bigger budgets. The brands simply have the funds.
However, that is all going to change when the $175 million budget cap comes into play. It will certainly level the playing field and give the smaller teams a better chance at winning.
Watching Lewis Hamilton win every weekend can be sort of fun, but watching the underdog have a chance at taking home a trophy is better. If that means a budget has to come into play, then so be it. We are rooting for you, George Russell.