Auto123.com - Helping you drive happy

F1: The ever increasing budgets of Formula 1 teams

Marc Limacher is a French consultant in business models who has worked in the automobile and motorsport fields. He has done an interesting study about the evolution of Formula 1 driver’s salaries and team budgets over the last 50 years.

Martini F1 1978
In 1978, the annual budget of the small Martini F1 team, ran by Hugues de Chaunac, was just $600,000. (Photo: WRI2)

Marc Limacher is a French consultant in business models who has worked in the automobile and motorsport fields. He has done an interesting study about the evolution of Formula 1 driver’s salaries and team budgets over the last 50 years.

Limacher, editor of the Web site Tomorrownewsf1.com, has spent a great deal of time making calculations to be able to compare money invested in Formula 1 in different eras.

Here is a table extracted from his latest article which shows the stunning increase in team’s annual budgets between 1968 and today. The sums of money have been converted in today’s dollars.

Team budgets:

1968Tyrrell$1.3 million
1973Tyrrell$2.5$ million
1977Ferrari$12 million
1978Brabham$23 million
1982McLaren$34 million
1988Lotus$50 million
1990Ferrari$64 million
1993 McLaren$81 million
2013Ferrari$390 million
2013Red Bull Racing$355 million
2013 Mercedes AMG$398 million

In 1968, a team could purchase a Cosworth DFV V8 engine for just £7,500 at 1968 prices (about $145,000 in today’s US dollars). Today, F1 teams can only lease engines, not buy them.

Some 50 years ago, a typical British F1 team would employ less than 25 people. Today, the big teams have easily more than 300. Times have changed.