Do F1 Teams Make Money? A Breakdown of Revenue and Costs

The Formula 1 is one of the biggest money sports on the planet, but how much does the F1 actually make? Let's take a look inside some of the numbers to see how the other, faster half lives.

Wade McElwain
Wade McElwain

Last Updated: 2024-03-12

Umaima Saeed

Formula 1 (F1) is not just a thrilling sport of speed and precision; it's also a colossal business venture. With billions of dollars circulating within the F1 ecosystem, understanding how teams generate revenue is crucial. So, how do F1 teams make money, and how much money do they mane? Let's delve into the intricacies of their revenue streams and financial operations, as we look at how much money F1 teams make. 

Prize Money Distribution

One of the primary revenue sources for F1 teams is the prize money distributed by the Formula One Group. In 2022, Formula 1 generated a staggering $2.57 billion, with approximately 45% allocated to the prize pot. This translates to around $1.15 billion distributed among the teams based on their performance in races and their position in the Constructors' Championship.

  - In 2022, the top team received 14% of the total prize pot, while the bottom team received 6%, a significant adjustment from previous years' distribution models.
  - For instance, Mercedes, as the winner of the Constructors' Championship in 2020, earned a substantial $135 million in prize money, reflecting the importance of performance in revenue generation.
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Sponsorships and Investments

Sponsorships play a pivotal role in the financial stability of F1 teams. Companies invest millions in sponsoring teams, leveraging the global reach and visibility of the sport to promote their brands.

  - From 2010 to 2018 alone, F1 sponsors contributed a staggering $17.8 billion to the sport, with teams like Ferrari securing a significant share, around 11.8%.
  - Additionally, investments from car manufacturers, such as Daimler's $80 million infusion into Mercedes in 2019, further bolster teams' financial resources.

Budget Caps and Expenditure Limitations

To level the playing field and curb excessive spending, F1 introduced budget caps, limiting team expenditures. Initially set at $145 million in 2021, the cap was further reduced to $135 million in 2023.

  - Historically, teams with larger budgets, including Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull, dominated the sport. The implementation of budget caps aimed to promote competition and financial sustainability among all teams.

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Driver Contracts and Endorsements

While not part of the team budget cap, driver contracts represent a significant financial commitment for F1 teams. Drivers receive base salaries, performance-based bonuses, and income from sponsorships and endorsements.

  - For instance, in 2023, F1 drivers' salaries ranged from $1 million to an astonishing $55 million, with top earners like Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton commanding substantial pay packages.
  - Verstappen, the 2022 F1 champion, earned a total of $60 million, including a $40 million salary and $20 million in bonuses, underscoring the financial stakes involved in securing top talent.

Formula 1 teams navigate a complex financial landscape, relying on a diverse array of revenue streams to sustain their operations and compete at the highest level. They’re all billionaires, so they are use to being able to hide, stash and tuck money into places that us regular folk would have no idea what to do. From prize money distributions and sponsorships to budget constraints and driver contracts, every aspect of F1's financial ecosystem influences teams' success on and off the track. As the sport continues to evolve, understanding the dynamics of F1's revenue generation remains paramount for fans and stakeholders alike.
As the F1 continues to grow, you can bet that these Richey Riches of the F1 will find new and innovative ways of making money.

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How much does it cost for drivers to participate in Formula 1?

Drivers face significant financial obligations, including registration fees exceeding $1 million and additional fees per point from the previous season.

What are the primary sources of revenue for Formula 1 teams?    
Formula 1 teams primarily generate revenue through prize money, sponsorships, investments from car manufacturers, and various commercial partnerships.

How does Formula 1 distribute its prize money?    
Formula 1 distributes around 45% of its total revenue as prize money, allocated based on teams' performance in the Constructors' Championship.

What is the significance of sponsorships for F1 teams?
Sponsorships play a crucial role as the primary revenue source for many F1 teams, providing funding and exposure. Additionally, investments from car manufacturers serve as endorsements, enhancing their products' appeal.

How has the introduction of budget caps impacted Formula 1 teams?    
The introduction of budget caps in 2021 aimed to control escalating costs, with a cap of $135 million per team in 2023. This measure promotes fairness and sustainability within the sport, ensuring teams operate within their means.

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Wade McElwain
Wade McElwainSenior Sports Writer

Wade McElwain is our Mr. NFL, a bona fide North American sports nut who knows about NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA plus MMA boxing and more. Originally from Canada, Wade is also an international award-winning stand-up comedian; host of numerous TV game shows; and a TV producer & writer. He also runs NFL in London-the largest NFL fan group in Europe, and has hosted NFL events at Wembley and around the world. Yes, he lives alone and does nothing but watch sports.