Are divers paid too much?
Formula One drivers compete in one of the most demanding sports in the world. The physical attributes which are needed to compete at the lowest level of single seaters is incredible, let alone those in the pinnacle of Motorsport. But wages in Formula One is a debate which is echoed through various sports, most notably Football. West Ham footballer Stuart Downing earns €4.8 million a year, whereas 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen should have earned €3 million in 2013, but with his Lotus team in financial trouble he wasn’t “paid a single euro” in 2013. But if you compare the ridiculous vast amount of money needed to compete. The driver’s wages is a key factor to this as teams could save millions of Euros but they don’t. Giving the teams abilities to spend €20 million wages that footballers get like Wayne Rooney’s €18883129.20 (18 million 883 thousand 129 pounds euros and 20 cent) a year to Lewis Hamilton’s wage of €20 million it makes you wonder where the money comes from since there is “a global economic recession”. It is this immense money spending which has caused Honda, BMW, HRT, Toyota, Super Aguri and Renault to pull out of Formula 1 since 2008! This has been due to the on drivers is obscene but because of huge companies spending millions on advertising and Car companies being linked with Formula 1 teams, such as Mercedes using their road car success to pump more money into their Formula 1 team. This then allows high driver wages. But the better the driver the more they will earn.
Do the constructors waste money on development only to gain a tenth or two?
To be competitive in Formula 1 you need a quick car with lots of down force. To gain down force you need a good designer and lots of RnD (Research and Development). To complete RnD you need MONEY. Formula 1 cars are made from carbon fibre, a lightweight yet strong material which makes it perfect for the sport. However it’s the most expensive metal in the world because of its durability and lightweight nature. But the price can easily be paid for the constructors champions as they receive $100 million in prize money. But it’s not just development which costs major money. The whole processes kicks off with the $500,000 minimum entry fee, for the World Champions it’s in the region of $2 million. That’s just to take part in the season! The main point of development in Formula 1 is the front wing. This is the pain generator of down force and it’s very easy to find another way of getting that extra tenth. However a front wing end plate (Below) costs at least £7000. But if you need to replace rebuild a whole front wing and nose assembly that will cost a huge £100000!
When going to see live events you will most likely need a ticket. Whether it’s a concert, a film or a sporting event. For the 2014 British Grand Prix general admission ticket prices for Sunday were £150 and the cheapest sitting from £200. However this is for the whole day from 7:30am – 10:00pm which includes 5 races all between 20 and 78 laps. Whereas at a concert that only lasts a few hours and that is it all for the price of £55+ for a popular band. At a football match or a film your only there for approximately 2 hours. Football ticket prices vary, but a Premier League match can cost you £40-£80 depending on the match. So in theory you pay more for more. At a football game you go to support your team and will loath the opposition. This means that fans can’t be seated together because drunken idiots who are overly passionate about their team will happily get into fights with other people just because of which football team they support. However in Formula One it is the opposite. In 2012 I was lucky enough to go to the British GP. I was amazed by the diversity of the people there. There were fans supporting every team from Red Bull to Lotus to Force India to HRT (Hispania Racing Team), and all of these fans were all sat together sharing their F1 experiences. When Mark Webber overtook Fernando Alonso for the lead late on the whole crowd applauded Webber for the move including Ferrari and Fernando Alonso fans that had just seen their man loose the lead. In football if you applaud the opposition you are in for a beating off the rest of the fans, unless on the rare occasion (e.g. Jonjo Shelvey for Swansea vs. Liverpool 23/02/2014). So in this aspect although ticket prices are expensive, it is completely worth it for the whole day at the track. However at a Grand Prix weekend you can find cheaper tickets. For the 2014 Monaco GP a General Admission ticket Sunday Pass for a Child, 6- 15 is only £34.85 and £69.70 for an Adult. The area available is great value for your money to “This area is located on the way up to Prince's Palace and offers stunning views of the harbour area. From some positions it is possible to see sections of the circuit such as the Chicane after Tunnel, Bureau de Tabac, La Piscine, La Rascasse and the whole pit-lane. Some of the walkways do offer more comfortable viewing, so it is recommended to be there early to get a good spot. Located on the way up to Prince's Palace. Stunning views of the harbour area. Available as a one day pass (Saturday) or (Sunday) for adults 16 years and children ages 6-15.” This price is surprising given that the venue in question is Monaco, the European Dubai. Whereas for the Italian Grand Prix in September 2014 the general Admission price for Grand Prix day is £81.13. “This ticket provides access to the General Admission areas at Monza, which run around the inside of the circuit at the Curva Biassono, Lesmo, Curva del Serraglio and Parabolica. Seating is on grassy mounds, or small stands of 3-4 rows, and views vary greatly so get to the track early to claim a good spot.
Some fans prefer the freedom to move around the circuit offered by a General Admission ticket, as well as the space to spread out. Video walls are opposite some areas”. This is still a competitive price for General Admission but fans would rather go to Monaco than Monza, any day so having a cheaper price in Monaco is better for the fans.
Is too much money spent on hospitality?
Hospitality is a big part of Formula 1 for the teams. Each race weekend all 60-70 people stay at the track in team motor homes. In these motor homes is accommodation for all with breakfast, lunch (if time) and dinner. The motor homes also contain entertainment for those not involved in the debriefs after every session. A top Formula 1 team spends around $13 million on hospitality. Sponsors also expect their share in the team to be rewarded, so expect to have Liberty Hall when they visit a Grand Prix. Top teams like Ferrari can spend more on hospitality in a season than a team like Marussia because they have a bigger budget, from road cars, sponsors and championship winnings. But yet again teams spend too much on hospitality $13 million is way too much for what teams really need. But this is because of sponsors wanting a 7 star experience at race weekends when they could instead book a nearby hotel and watch the sessions in the pits. The motor homes used cost vast amounts of money but only appear at the European races as they are so big and difficult to transport. McLaren have long boasted the biggest motor home but the money spent on transporting and assembling the motor homes is one area that the F.I.A. are trying to reduce costs. However the top teams are being quite stubborn on the matter.
Merchandise is a big way of bringing fans closer to the sport. Fans want to be able to show their support for a team and/or a driver. However the price of it is rising. A team t-shirt will set you back £35 and Caps between £30 and £40 depending on the team and driver. Yet most of these caps are covered in sponsors, e.g. the 2007-2013 McLaren caps where Vodafone caps with the company plastered on the front and the driver and team either on the side or the back just like Ferrari caps are Santander caps. But this is the cheap merchandise in Formula 1. Die cast replica cars vary on price. The cheaper the less detail. The cheapest start from £3.99 but these are the size of a matchbox. However the dearest can set you back thousands of pounds. Niki Lauda 3 time Formula 1 world champion wrote an auto biography called “To Hell and Back”. The book explains his near death experience and his World Championship battle with James Hunt in 1976. This book now costs over £1000 brand new. This is an incredible amount of money for a book which many want to read. Also with the release of Hollywood film “RUSH” more and more people want to get their hands on a copy. The problem is collectors will pay these prices and just keep them in a loft in a glass cabinet never to be sampled in all its glory. Its collectors which make the price of merchandise rise and it really hurts those who can’t really afford to spend masses on it and people won’t pay over a grand for any book even this one. However it isn’t just the F1 teams who are raising prices on merchandise. Formula one’s lone tyre supplier Pirelli also has its own collection on the F1 store. Just like the teams Pirelli are charging exceptional prices for their merchandise. The Pirelli wind jacket will set you back a staggering £135! Then you see the ‘solar’ backpack. This rucksack has a solar panel built in so you can charge you phone plus a variety of other devices. For a company who charge a lot for standard road tyres and have their F1 tyres bought off them for F1, GP2 and GP3 it is ridiculous to charge these prices to fans. The replica podium cap is at a reasonable price for F1 caps but £35 is still a fair bit of money for a cap. In contrast to other sports football merchandise prices are rising too, with the New England shirt retailing at £90!! But the Formula 1 teams want lots of money so it can use the profits to continue to develop their car, which leads back to the cost of development.