Mercedes and Force India Getting Most Value for Their Money in 2014 F1 Season

Matthew Walthert@@MatthewWalthertFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2014

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 25:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP drives during practice ahead of the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at Hungaroring on July 25, 2014 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Drew Gibson/Getty Images)
Drew Gibson/Getty Images

Mercedes and Force India are at opposite ends of the Formula One grid in terms of the size of their budgets. This season, however, both teams are getting an excellent return on their investments.

The other thing those two teams have in common, of course, is Mercedes power.

In fact, four of the top five teams in our efficiency ranking—which calculates the amount of money each team spends per Constructors' point scored—are using Mercedes power units.

In Bahrain, Sergio Perez scored Force India's first podium since 2009.
In Bahrain, Sergio Perez scored Force India's first podium since 2009.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

For the smaller teams—Force India and Williams—topping this list may not be due to efficiency so much as luck, then. They just happened to have the right engine supply partner this year. In Williams' case, the team's switch from Renault at the end of last season seems particularly prescient.

At the other end of the spectrum, Caterham and Sauber have yet to score this season. Marussia, despite getting their first-ever points in Monaco, are also near the bottom of the rankings. And Lotus, who finished last year's ranking in second place, just behind Red Bull, round out the bottom four.

Here is this year's mid-season ranking:

Mid-Season Value-for-Money Ranking
TeamBudget (millions of £)Points£ (millions) per point
Force India60980.61
Red Bull3402191.55
Toro Rosso64173.76
Budget figures from CircusF1.com converted to £ using XE.com
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Although they are second in the championship by a large margin, Red Bull trail the three Merc-powered teams here. With a budget more than five times that of Force India, the Bulls have managed just over twice as many points.

Meanwhile, the second-largest budget in the sport is not doing Ferrari any good, either. Yes, they would probably have more points if Kimi Raikkonen had not struggled so much through the first half of the season, but the fact is that the Scuderia has once again failed to produce a front-of-the-grid challenger.

Luca Bruno/Associated Press

Team principal Stefano Domenicali fell on his sword in April, once it was clear this would be Ferrari's sixth straight season without a title. His replacement, Marco Mattiacci, has been making changes and Fernando Alonso nearly grabbed the team's first victory of the season in Hungary, but a complete turnaround will take time.

The other Italian team, Toro Rosso, has a budget half the size of that of Lotus, but they have outscored the Enstone outfit 17-8. Both teams are using Renault power units, so Lotus cannot use that as an excuse. Some of the difference is probably down to driver quality.

Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne has been a steady, if unspectacular, performer for three years, and Daniil Kvyat has the potential to be a future star. Lotus has Romain Grosjean, who had a strong finish to the 2013 season, and Pastor Maldonado, who is having trouble going more than a single race without crashing into someone or something.

Marussia are last in the ranking among the teams that have scored points, but that will not bother the boys and girls from Banbury. Their two points are potentially worth millions of pounds if they stay ahead of Caterham and Sauber.

Zsolt Czegledi/Associated Press

Back closer to the top of the rankings, despite McLaren's ongoing struggles, they compare well with Red Bull and Ferrari in terms of how much they are spending per point.

However, they are well behind the other three Mercedes-powered teams. In particular, McLaren must be disappointed to be stuck behind Williams and Force India—in these rankings and in the Constructors' Championship—even with a much larger budget.

With eight races remaining, the battle for the Constructors' title may be over, but there is still time for some movement in the efficiency rankings. Red Bull, for example, have come on strongly recently, winning two of the last five grands prix.

Not that this will be any consolation for the teams chasing Mercedes, though. No one wants to spend £200 million to come second (or worse), no matter how efficiently they spend that money.

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