Category Archives: Grand Prix News

Mercedes F1 team spent £240m when winning 2014 championship

The Mercedes F1 team spent over £240m and posted a loss of £76.9m during its title winning season in 2014, the company’s annual accounts have revealed.

The team enjoyed substantially increased revenues compared to 2013, but the high costs of the hybrid V6 rule changes and bonuses paid as a result of the ongoing success ensured that costs increased at a far higher rate.

In fact the report for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd reveals that turnover (essentially sponsors income and prize money) increased from £125.2m in 2013 to £146.9m in 2014 “due to higher sponsorship revenue and increased income from the Commercial Rights Holder flowing from improved track performance in 2013.”

Meanwhile operating costs went from £190.7m to £240.2m “due to significantly higher bonuses payable as a consequence of the record-breaking level of sporting performance and also increased costs arising from regulation change.”

The loss after tax increased from £51.0m to £76.9m, which was “within the pre-defined parameters set by the shareholders.”

The accounts also reveal that on average in 2014 the team employed 765 people, up from 663 in 2013. Wages and salaries rose from £49.7m to £65.2m.

Looking ahead the company acknowledges that it will receive extra funding from Bernie Ecclestone as a result of its sustained success, as the team signed a deal that triggered bonuses based on winning two championships and a string of races. It notes: “The agreement with the Commercial Rights Holder has provisions for significantly increased revenue flows based on sporting performance, some of which will be triggered in 2015 as a result of the team’s performance in 2014.”

Intriguingly the accounts also say that “the company remains committed to cost reduction in F1 and will continue to work with the other competitor teams and stakeholders to achieve this objective in a fair and transparent way.”

It’s worth pointing out that while Mercedes spent more in winning the title the cost per point earned progressed from a high of £1.0m in 2012 to £530,000 in 2013 and then to £355,000 last year, allowing for double points in Abu Dhabi. Mercedes believes that RBR spent £397,000 per point in its championship winning years.


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

First 2016 F1 test now set for February 22 in Barcelona

The F1 teams have agreed to hold the first test of 2016 in Barcelona on February 22-25, sources have confirmed.

That means that the new cars will run only seven days earlier than had been planned, despite the first race in Melbourne being moved forward by 14 days (2016 is a Leap Year).

The teams had been targeting a first test date of March 1-4 in Barcelona. That has been left intact and now becomes the second test, and the original date for the second Barcelona test later in the month has been cancelled.

The gap between the first test and the first race has shrunk by a week, so teams will have to run a different schedule than they had been expecting to as they prepare the cars for Australia.

Meanwhile teams are currently planning to hold the first in-season test after the Spanish GP, while the second will potentially actually be post-season, after Abu Dhabi.

1 Comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Manor targets “aggressive performance development” with new package

Manor F1 boss John Booth expects to see “aggressive performance development” next year as the team benefits from its links with Mercedes and Williams.

The team will have 2016 engines, plus gearboxes and suspension from Williams.

Although there were many factors governing our selection of an engine partner to help power us towards our long-term ambitions, ultimately the strength of the Mercedes-Benz package speaks for itself,” said Booth.

2015 has been a rebuilding year in every aspect of our operation. Although we have not been able to make the incremental strides in competitiveness that the team has enjoyed in previous seasons, we have put in place a strong foundation from which to progress. Together with the potential we are seeing with our 2016 car in the wind tunnel, the Mercedes-Benz Power Unit will assist our return to aggressive performance development with effect from next season.

I am also pleased to announce that we will resume our prior technical partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, from whom we will receive the supply of transmission and suspension components. Combined with Mercedes-Benz Power Units, we are very excited about the strength of our new powertrain package and what it means for the long-term future of our team.”

Booth did not forget his current supplier: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Scuderia Ferrari for their support for our team over the past two seasons. In 2014, together we shared in the momentous occasion of the team’s first points and in 2015 Ferrari supported us to a degree that was above and beyond the requirements of our partnership agreement. Quite simply, we could not have returned to the grid without them pushing extremely hard to support the MR03B, at the same time as focusing on their own 2015 package.”


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Mercedes confirms Manor supply deal for 2016

Mercedes will supply Manor with power units in 2016, the manufacturer has confirmed.

The British team will have current-year engines, as well as Petronas fuel, for a deal that goes beyond next season. Manor will also have Williams gearboxes and, in a deal similar to that enjoyed by Haas, Williams suspension components.

Merc boss Toto Wolff said: “Mercedes-Benz has a clear Formula One philosophy based around our works Silver Arrows team and supplying benchmark Power Units to independent customer teams. We believe this approach provides Formula One with greater strength in depth and ensures a deeper level of competitiveness throughout the field.

“In anticipation of Renault’s takeover of the Lotus F1 Team, we are pleased to announce Manor Marussia as a new customer of Mercedes-Benz. It is a tenacious team with a fantastic competitive spirit, and we are all excited to see what step forward they can make next year with their new car coupled with the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid Power Unit.”

As reported here last weekend, Wolff admitted in Japan that a Mercedes protege such as Pascal Wehrlein or Esteban Ocon (also linked to Renault) could be part of the Manor deal.

However, he suggested that whatever discount Mercedes gave to get a driver a seat could be trumped by an outsider with a big budget, given that a Manor-Mercedes would be a more competitive package than the current car.

“That could be an interesting scenario, but the harsh financial reality is that Manor needs to refinance themselves and raise the budgets and I’m not sure that we would prepare to place a driver with budgets they could probably raise in the driver markets if we were to supply engines, because it could be an attractive offer for young drivers.

“It’s a bit of a tricky situation. We haven’t got a dedicated driver programme, we have Pascal, who is with us, whose main focus is DTM, and I don’t want to take him away from that focus. He has done a great job for us and he is a very exciting young driver, but I’d rather like to see how DTM pans out. So yes, that’s a possibility, but it needs many pieces of the jigsaw to come together, and it could well not happen.”

Wolff indicated that should GP3 star Ocon want to take up a Renault offer, even for a reserve role, Mercedes would not stand in his way.

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Button confirmed at McLaren for 2016 – and he gets his money

McLaren has confirmed that Jenson Button will indeed stay with the team in 2016.

Button always had a two-year deal but McLaren could have terminated it by September 30, and indeed the 2009 World Champion could have retired and walked away.

The contract included a substantial pay rise for 2016, but Ron Dennis had been attempting to get Jenson to stay on for the same money that he got this year, under a renegotiated deal. It now appears that Button has won this battle of wills, and will get his money after all, as Dennis says that the original terms and conditions have been met.

Jenson and I have been discussing his plans in private for the past few weeks,” said Dennis in a statement.And the fact that our talks have led to today’s announcement is very pleasing to both of us and will delight and motivate all at McLaren-Honda.

As I have made clear whenever I have been asked about the subject, Jenson’s current contract is of two years’; duration [2015 and 2016]. There is a ‘terminate after year one’ option that McLaren could have triggered if we had wished to do so, but, once it became clear from my many conversations with Jenson that he remained as enthusiastic and as committed and as focused as ever, that option immediately became an irrelevance. That being the case, Jenson will race for McLaren-Honda next year, under the terms and conditions as set out in the two-year contract that both parties entered into a year ago.”

Button himself added: “Over the past month or so I have done quite a lot of thinking, and it is no secret that I was at one point in two minds about my future.

But I have been a McLaren driver for six seasons now [2010-2015], and in that time I have got to know Ron very well. He and I have had some very good chats these past few weeks, and during those chats it has become clear to me that Ron is both utterly determined and uniquely equipped to lead our team through its current difficulties to great successes in the future.

That gives me great confidence, and it is for that reason that, together, he and I have decided to continue our partnership; and, as soon as I had made that decision, straight away I realised it was the correct one.”


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

FIA tidies up F1 regulations for 2016 and beyond

In addition to ratifying the 2016 calendar the World Motor Sport Council has agreed on several other “housekeeping” measures.

Among them is an attempt to address the issue of engine noise.

The governing body summarises them as follows: “Cars must now comply with all cockpit and safety equipment requirements during testing; such as the position of the driver’s head, all headrest padding, cockpit padding and ease of driver egress.

Sporting Regulations regarding track limits have been clarified and specify that drivers “must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not deliberately leave the track without a justifiable reason”. Penalties will still be allocated based on whether a driver is judged to have gained an advantage.

The WMSC approved the proposal of the F1 Commission regarding regulations for power unit and gearbox changes. Such penalties prior to qualifying will be applied based on the time of use. For changes made after qualifying, preference will be given to the driver whose team first informed the technical delegate that a change will occur.

Any driver who causes a start to be aborted, even if he is then able to start the extra formation lap, will be required to start the race from the pit lane. The same process will be applied to a re-start from a race suspension where drivers have been brought to the pit lane.

The WMSC confirmed a number of clarifications were made to aerodynamic testing restrictions for wind tunnel use and CFD, specifically focusing on reporting and inspection processes for these development tools.

For 2016, all cars must have a separate exhaust wastegate tailpipe through which all and only wastegate exhaust gases must pass. This measure has been undertaken to increase the noise of the cars and will not have any significant effect on power or emissions.

For 2017, on board cameras on stalks on the nose of cars will be prohibited.”


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

FIA issues revised 2016 F1 calendar

The FIA World Motor Sport Council has ratified a revised 2016 F1 calendar featuring a number of changes from the original version, which was published in July.

In total eight races have new dates, namely the Australian, Chinese, Bahrain, British, Azerbaijan, Hungarian, Malaysian and Mexican GPs. Baku is now twinned with Montreal, and Mexico with Brazil.

Bernie Ecclestone has been wrestling with various scheduling headaches over the past three months after the July schedule attracted some concerns both from teams and some race promoters.

As predicted last weekend, the opening race in Australia has been moved forward to March 20, the Melbourne organisers having confirmed the news on their website earlier today. This creates a new logistical headache for the teams, who now have to change their R&D, car build, crash testing and spares production schedules.

2016 F1 Schedule

20 March Melbourne

3 April Bahrain

17 April Shanghai

1 May Sochi

15 May Barcelona

29 May Monte Carlo

12 June Montreal

19 June Baku

3 July Spielberg

10 July Silverstone

24 July Budapest

31 July Hockenheim

28 August Spa-Francorchamps

4 September Monza

18 September Singapore

2 October Sepang

9 October Suzuka

23 October Austin

6 November Mexico City

13 November Sao Paolo

27 November Abu Dhabi

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News