Mercedes has dominated F1 since 2014. Before, it was just another middle pack team, at best. But if you where wondering what is the cost of success, well, all you have to do is take a look at their financial statements. So lets dive in to some quick numbers provided by Autosport:
*In millions of U$
First off, under operating cost we can see a huge increase, courtesy of the new power units. Its spike in wages is due to performance bonuses for the staff, which is a really nice perk and motivation to keep going at it in the future. Even though the team ended up winning 2014 with “unprecedented success” their increased earnings from sponsorship deals and prize money where not enough to offset their cost.
What really surprised me the most was the following statement in relation to the team running in negative numbers:
“within the pre-defined parameters set by the shareholders”.
I know that if the silver arrows continue to dominate F1 for the years to come they will surely turn around the team into being self sustainable. But in a sport that is trying to preach sensible spending for the smaller teams, you can clearly see that you can not compete against a company that has the deep pockets to willing lose money in order to achieve the success. What I do wonder is what would the three pointed star do if they where in let’s say, Honda’s shoes? If there engine had been a total failure would there shareholders be as happy to take the hit? Or would they be the ones Mateschitzing (threatening to quit the sport)?
Since 2012 CVC & Bernie Ecclestone have been trying to unload F1. After a failed listing in Singapore’s Stock market, several parties have always been keen to buy the racing circus. Now, after years of failed attempts, the latest rumors pin Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins & a real estate Mogul, heading a US-Qatari consortium. Although Ecclestone would also be selling his personal 5% stake, his family trust might likely keep its 8.5%.
What I like is the prospects of growth as some in the US (China is also in their sites), which will hopefully mean the sport can finally become more tech friendly and start innovating in its broadcast solutions. Though Ross has stated that Bernie would be kept to run the day to day operations, the sale might also trigger him to finally find a younger replacement.
(Stephen Ross Image via Zimbio.com)
For this and other ramblings you may follow me on Twitter @Menebrio