Ecclestone Loaded

Even Formula One wasn’t completely immune from the global financial crisis, with its profits dipping by US$200M in 2009 following the withdrawal of several major manufacturers and sponsors.

That is the finding of the report on the sport’s finances titled Formula Money. It revealed F1 turned an overall profit of US$4.6 billion, down from US$4.8 billion the year before.

That’s right. US$4.6 BILLION.

The teams’ spending dropped from US$1.6 billion to US$1.1 billion over the year, as the FIA’s programme to cut costs took hold.

Honda’s withdrawal alone cost the sport US$350 million worth of investment. Overall, the teams’ sponsorship revenues took an 8% hit, dropping from US$836.9 million to US$770.75 million over the course of a difficult year.

However, race hosting fees increased by 11% despite the calendar shrinking from 18 to 17 grand prix, but this does not factor in flagging ticket sales in several venues.

Formula Money attributed this growth in revenue to the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The sport made a total of US$448 million from race fees alone in 2009, and Bernie Ecclestone has brokered a deal to hold a race in South Korea that should see that total rise even higher in 2010.

Sponsorship of F1 itself also boomed this year. New deals with LG Electronics and Universal Music helped to account for a 79% increase over 2008, to a total of US$102 million. TV rights was another area of growth for Formula One Management, as revenues increased by 18% to US$450 million mainly thanks to new deals in the UK and Spain.

One wonders what Bernie will be spending all of his profits on?

[Image from The Guardian]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.