How much do Formula 1 cars cost?
Money is a part of the appeal of Formula 1 but its also a major challenge for the sport. Despite the hundreds of regulations been imposed to keep costs down, running a team is one of the most expensive hobbies you can have. Of course there's the car and the technology then the facilities, people, travel and transport.
Those with cash to splash like Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, have estimated annual spends of £240m compared with around £48m budgets of the smaller teams.
PA & MSN
This year's cars would probably cost about £1.6million to build
To help us work out what sort of price tag you might expect to see dangling from the rear wing of an F1 car, we spoke to insiders about the cost of basic components.
Carbon fibre monocoque - £400,000 per chassis
Front wing including nose cone - £100,000
Rear wing including DRS overtaking aid - £50,000
Steering wheel - £30,000
Fuel tank and assembly - £70,000
Hydraulics system - £100,000
Gearbox - £300,000
Cooling system - £100,000
Total of basic parts = £1.150m per car
But before you start saving up or buying an extra lottery ticket, the cost of one of those oh-so-desirable F1 cars does not end there.
The drivers cannot always put the pedal to the metal because the rules only allow them to use eight engines per season. If a driver uses more than their allocated eight then they face a 10-place grid penalty.
The regulation was introduced in 2009’s era of cost-cutting - and when each engine package costs £4.3m per car it’s easy to see why.
Next season F1 will be turned upside by new rules on engines – 1.6-litre turbo-charged V6 engines will replace the naturally aspirated, 1.8-litre V8s.
The rule change is an expensive business as one team boss told MSN he expects engine costs to increase to as much as £8.6m per car.
Those teams who also supply engines, such as Mercedes and Ferrari as well as McLaren, who are reigniting ties with Japanese engine manufacturer Honda in 2015, will get some help towards their engine costs.
But customer teams, who buy their engines from Mercedes, Ferrari or Renault, will have to take 2014’s inflated costs into account.
F1 tyre supplier Pirelli asks the teams to make a small contribution toward the 36,000 tyres it will supply during the 2013 season.
But the bulk of the bill is still picked up by the Italian company who reckon they spend more than a small team’s annual budget on providing F1’s rubber.
Pirelli are still negotiating with some of the teams about continuing as the sport’s sole supplier in 2014 – maybe the teams want some money off?
Each team guzzles an estimated 200,000 litres of fuel per season.
So if Ferrari, for example, were to rock up to a UK petrol station with July’s average price at the pump that would cost them £271,000!
Just think how many “Tiger Tokens” they could have earned with that bill?
The actual cost of the fuel and lubricants – as well as the cost of shipping the barrels to each race - is one of those figures F1 teams like to keep secret.
But those teams who have technical partnerships with petroleum companies – such as Ferrari’s alliance with Shell and McLaren’s relationship with Mobil 1 – will again share the cost.
Drivers very often outweigh their wages by the sponsorship they attract to a team, but they still leave a considerable mark on the accounts.
Williams driver Pastor Maldonado reportedly brings a whopping £30m a year to the British team from his supporters, Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.
Double world champion Fernando Alonso took Spanish banking backers Santander to McLaren in 2007 and the company has recently extended its deal with Alonso’s current Ferrari team.
But there are still some drivers who command a hefty wage.
British 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton reportedly earns close to £20m a year at Mercedes while three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel takes home £10m a year from Red Bull.
We know many of you out there would drive an F1 car for free…
The intangible costs
In conjuring the sums, it is difficult to put a cost on the myriad parts and the endless hours of research and development that whirs in the heart of the team’s factories and multi-million pound wind tunnels.
Many components are designed, built and then tested without ever reaching the car. One team said only 0.1% of the parts it makes ever find their way onto the track
Many heads are scratched trying to find that extra tenth of a second in performance and even a gain over a full season of work of half a second per lap is considered a good result.
The cost of manpower and manufacture is almost an inestimable sum that no F1 team would be willing to reveal. Engineers work 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Cars for sale
If you still won’t be deterred from spending your savings on an F1 car then consider your options carefully.
The gorgeous Mercedes W196 driven by five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio during the 1954 season recently sold for auction for a world record £17.5m
Meanwhile, Pirelli said earlier this year it planned to put a 2011 car, which it bought from the defunct HRT team, up for sale on an online auction site.
But on balance, if you have designs on building your own F1 car in this era of cost-cutting you might be better getting one made of Lego.
- More Formula 1 news
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What does formula 1 mean to me?
Wait five minutes and MMMMEEEEOOOOW cars gone, wait five minutes and MMEEEEOOOOW cars gone repeat 20 times and race over.
Now how boring was that.