Mercedes and Williams Were the Most Efficient Teams in the 2014 Formula 1 Season

Matthew Walthert@@MatthewWalthertFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2014

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 02:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP leads Felipe Massa of Brazil and Williams and Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams during the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on November 2, 2014 in Austin, United States.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

In Formula One, like other professional sports, having a larger budget than your rivals can give you an advantage on the field of play or, in this case, the race track.

However, outspending the competition is not a guarantee of success. Some teams spend their money more efficiently than others, while some can spend a lot of money with few positive results to show for it.

During F1's summer break, we ranked each team by the amount of money they spent per point scored in the constructors' championship. At that time, Mercedes and Force India came out on top in terms of value for money.

Now that the season is over, we are going to revisit the table to see what changes have occurred since midseason.

Remember, the budget figures are only estimates, but they do provide a starting point for comparison between the teams.

Value-for-Money Ranking
TeamBudget (£ millions)Points£ (millions) per point
Mercedes2407010.34
Williams1203200.38
Force India601550.39
Red Bull3404050.84
McLaren1841811.02
Ferrari3282161.52
Toro Rosso64302.13
Lotus1281012.80
Marussia48224.00
Caterham560
Sauber680
Budget figures from CircusF1.com, converted to £ using XE.com

The second half of the season played out much like the first—Mercedes won every race after the summer holidays, except the Belgian Grand Prix. Therefore, it is not a surprise that, despite a large budget, the Silver Arrows came in at the top of the efficiency scale (the same happened last year with Red Bull, following their dominant season).

The only change in the order of the teams from the summer break to the end of the season is Williams moving into second place, just ahead of Force India. Again, this is not really a surprise—Williams had a very strong finish, while Force India struggled to maintain their pace from the first half of the season.

Force India started strong, but their results tailed off. Williams improved as the season went on.
Force India started strong, but their results tailed off. Williams improved as the season went on.Clive Mason/Getty Images

At the other end of the rankings, it may seem hard to believe, but Lotus performed worse in the second half of the season than they did in the first. In fact, after scoring eight points in the first six races, they managed just two in the last 13 grands prix (last year, the team from Enstone was second in the rankings, just behind Red Bull).

Despite scoring two points on a limited budget, Marussia is at the bottom of the efficiency rankings—at least among the teams that scored points. Unfortunately, even with those points from Monaco, the team went into administration and appears to have driven its final race.

Sauber, meanwhile, suffered through their worst season ever. The Swiss team failed to score a point for the first time in their 22 F1 seasons, coming closest at the first race of the year, when Adrian Sutil finished 11th and Esteban Gutierrez was 12th.

Sauber had a miserable season near the back of the grid.
Sauber had a miserable season near the back of the grid.Clive Mason/Getty Images

Once again this year, Ferrari demonstrated that having a huge budget does not guarantee a winning car. The Scuderia recently named their third team principal in seven months and shuffling their driver line-up for the second straight season (after four years of stability) in an effort to rediscover a winning formula.

It is a formula that probably does include a lot of money, but a strong management team, innovative engineering and quick drivers are also all important parts of achieving success in F1.

And when all of those elements are combined in one team—as they were at Mercedes this year—you can call yourself efficient, even while spending hundreds of millions of pounds to go racing 19 times.

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