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F1 Team Budgets: Which Teams Are Getting the Best Value for Their Money in 2015?

Matthew Walthert@@MatthewWalthertFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2015

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton (front) and Williams' Felipe Massa battle at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton (front) and Williams' Felipe Massa battle at the Hungarian Grand Prix.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Despite declining sponsorship revenue, the loss of the German Grand Prix (at least for this year) and falling television viewing figures, Formula One team budgets remain quite healthy.

This season, every team except Manor is spending more than €100 million (approximately $110 million), according to Business Book GP and the Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo (h/t Crash.net).

But, as in any other sport, just because a team spends a truckload of money doesn't guarantee them anything. Red Bull, according to Business Book GP's estimated budgets, are spending more than any other team in 2015, but they currently sit a distant fourth in the constructors' standings.

Force India, meanwhile, have the third-lowest budget but are fifth in the championship, ahead of three teams spending more money than they are.

Last week, we examined which drivers are providing their teams with the best value for their salaries. Now, let's take a look at which teams are getting the most value for their budgets.

Euros Per Point Scored
TeamBudget (€)Points€ per point
Mercedes467,400,0003831,220,365.54
Williams186,400,0001511,234,437.09
Ferrari418,000,0002361,771,186.44
Force India129,700,000393,325,641.03
Lotus139,100,000353,974,285.71
Toro Rosso137,450,000314,433,870.97
Sauber103,250,000224,693,181.82
Red Bull468,700,000964,882,291.67
McLaren465,000,0001727,352,941.18
Manor83,000,0000
Crash.net (budgets)
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Mercedes have the second-largest budget in F1, but they are so far ahead of the other teams that they are still spending the least per point scored. The Silver Arrows are 147 points clear of Ferrari in second place and have scored more than twice as many points as any of the other teams.

Williams, meanwhile, are significantly outperforming their relatively modest budget. The team from Grove are the most successful independent team in F1 history, so they are used to making the most of limited funds.

Last year, when they finished third in the constructors' championship, deputy team principal Claire Williams told the official F1 website, "To come ahead of Ferrari with the budget that we have in comparison to theirs—that is really significant for us. It's a great talking point when we are talking to partners: we are Williams—with half the budget look where we are compared to some of our rivals!"

Claire Williams
Claire WilliamsMark Thompson/Getty Images

Ferrari are third in terms of how much they are spending per constructors' point. Their on-track performance is much better than 2014, but they also increased their budget this year. According to the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t grandprix247.com), the Scuderia are spending an extra €100 million this season in an effort to close the gap to Mercedes.

At the other end of our ranking are Red Bull and McLaren—two of the highest-spending teams on the grid.

Red Bull, at least, are still fourth in the constructors' championship, although their 96 points are far less than what might be expected, given they are estimated to have the largest budget in F1 this year.

Struggling with their new Honda engines, McLaren are second-last in the constructors' standings, ahead of only Manor.

The good news for the Woking-based team is that, despite their lack of a title sponsor, they still have the third-highest estimated budget this season. All they need now are the results to match.

The McLaren car is a relatively blank canvas. The team have been without a title sponsor since the end of the 2013 season.
The McLaren car is a relatively blank canvas. The team have been without a title sponsor since the end of the 2013 season.ATTILA KISBENEDEK/Getty Images

Any way you look at it, though, F1 budgets are crazy—whether you are spending €27 million for each point, like McLaren, or just €1 million, like Mercedes and Williams. And with an estimated budget of €83 million, Manor aren't even competitive!

"The budgets are out of control," Zak Brown, chief executive of motorsport marketing agency CSM Sport and Entertainment, told Reuters' Alan Baldwin earlier this year. "And that then forces the whole eco-system of the sport to be financially strained...the expense of the sport is out of balance with the commercial value of the sport. Budgets now are $200-300-400 million. It’s nuts."

The answer, of course, is a budget cap, but the big, car manufacturer-backed teams are unlikely to agree to such a restriction.

In the meantime, everyone will continue to spend what they have—whether that spending achieves their desired results or not.

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