The Money Story – Part 2: Murdered Teams

murdered_teams.jpgWelcome to ‘Murdered Teams’ – the second part of Green Flag F1’s groundbreaking three-part series, The Money Story.

As mentioned in the first part, which is worth a read if you haven’t already, this story aims to give an in-depth look into the current system of team payments in Formula 1 and the subsequent effects it has had on constructors and teams both past and present.

This week’s edition focuses on various private and manufacturer Formula 1 teams that have sadly dropped out of the sport due to financial issues…

The issue of money has become more significant for Formula 1 in 2017 following the shocking disbandment of the Manor F1 Team.

After new owners purchased the struggling outfit in late 2015; one race in 2016 ultimately decided the fate of the team that had struggled since 2010 to gain any form of traction in Formula 1.

It was the soaking 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix where Felipe Nasr of Sauber preserved through the treacherous conditions to achieve a stunning P9 finish. The two points Sauber scored enabled them to leapfrog Manor in the Constructors Championship with just one round left in the season.

Because Manor had now finished P11 in the standings, their secondary payment of just over 15 million dollars, which would’ve added on to their split pot of 36 million, was actually given to the 10th placed Sauber.

Felipe Nasr celebrates after scoring Sauber’s only two points of the 2016 season. The surprise result saw the Swiss outfit jump Manor Racing in the 2016 Constructors Championship, a move which eventually saw Manor’s disbandment.

In late January of 2017, it was announced Manor hadn’t found a buyer and would drop out of the 2017 Formula 1 season.

Caterham F1 was another example of a team that failed to find its feet in Formula 1; they dropped out after the 2014 season due to the financial strains. Their owner, Tony Fernandes, acquired the struggling Lotus Racing outfit in 2011 and he immediately rebranded the team as ‘Caterham’ for the 2012 season.

However, the team never scored a point in their three years running the Caterham moniker. 2012 was their most successful year, finishing P10 in the World Constructors Championship. Unfortunately, 2013 and 2014 brought two P11 Constructors finishes, making them ineligible for extra season payments.

Further example of the up hill battle faced by mostly all of the new entrants to Formula 1 came in the rocky campaign of Toyota; who competed in the sport between 2002 and 2009.

Despite entering the sport with a manufacturer budget, Toyota were never able to crack the financial model of Formula 1, and eventually dropped out after 2009 due to the strain of the Global Financial Crisis.

They, like Manor and Caterham, left the sport because of financial reasons. However, their exit is different because the financial struggles they faced actually stemmed from the Global Financial Crisis of 2009.

“[W]hen considering TMC’s motorsports activities [in 2010] and beyond from a comprehensive mid-term viewpoint reflecting the current severe economic realities, TMC decided to withdraw from F1,” were the words used by the official Toyota statement.

In the first months of 2009, Toyota reported their first ever operating loss, which further proved the financial strain of running a team that only had 13 podiums to show for it’s seven seasons in Formula 1.

Lastly, Honda is yet another example of a manufacturer backed team that left the sport because of the financial state.

Honda, pictured here with their 2008 car, dropped out of Formula 1 because of the financial state of the world economy. The move, however, was not helped by Formula 1’s monetary structure.

In 2008, the team said in a statement: “Honda must protect its core business activities and secure the long term as widespread uncertainties in the economies around the globe continue to mount.” Like Toyota, they sighted the further strain of the impending 2009 Financial Crisis as their main reason to drop out of Formula 1.

These repetitive failures of teams, which included two backed by some of the most prominent Japanese automobile makers, are absolutely definitive evidence Formula 1 has a financially biased system which makes it almost impossible for new entrants to gain the necessary resources to become a successful outfit. If Honda and Toyota couldn’t afford to make championship winning cars – which new teams can?

When Ferrari are given a 68 million dollar head start, it can make it quite difficult, to say the least.

Tell us, do you agree with this aggressive second part of #TheMoneyStory? If you did, be sure to look out for ‘Part 3: Literal Liberty’ when it releases on the 20th of August. Or, be sure to check out ‘Part 1: Legalized Corruption’ by clicking here.

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Steven Walton is an 18-year-old Journalism Student at the Ara Institute of Canterbury. He previously attended St Andrew's College in Christchurch, where he excelled at History and Classical Studies. Steven is the Editor-in-Chief at Green Flag F1 and spends most of his days living, breathing, and immersing in the Formula 1 world.

2 thoughts on “The Money Story – Part 2: Murdered Teams

  1. How did RedBull crack the system then? (anything apart from the 2009 regulation change which I’m sure was a decisive factor)

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