F1 2017 Team Payouts Reveal Sporting Discontinuity Yet Again

On the back of the 2016 Constructor standings, it is no surprise that there is still a discontinuity in where each team finished and the payment distributed.

Whilst it is important to recognise the iconic names of Ferrari, McLaren and Williams in the sport, the total payments that Autosport have calculated paints quite an unsporting picture, where efforts in the Constructors Championship are marginal compared to default payouts on past achievements and the signing of bilateral agreements. The following gallery shows how the revenues have been distributed following the 2016 season:

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Formula One CEO Chase Carey’s rhetoric has been promising in that he has opened up the social media blackout and is focused on engaging a new generation of Formula One fans, who are less likely to follow a sport that automatically favours the fat cats. Look at Force India’s reward for their efforts on track last season, they ended up with $25m less than McLaren and less than half of what Red Bull received despite finishing one place behind them.

There are examples of a franchise system working in major sports around the world, especially in the United States. Isn’t it incredible that one of the most capitalist countries in the world employs strictly communistic principles in the NFL?

F1 fans shouldn’t have to even regard the way wealth is distributed, they follow racing for racing’s sake, but it comes up as a topic often because there is a huge disparity between where a team finishes and how much of a payout it gets. How can Ferrari or Mercedes take pride in beating the likes of Force India or Renault when you could argue that the difference around the lap is from research and development that could be afforded by a lopsided financial structure?

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Formula One is no longer the personal fiefdom of Bernie Ecclestone, and his system look to finally be on its way out. Race teams should be ahead on track solely because the driver is doing a good job and their car is innovative on merit, not just because wads of cash have been spat through a wind tunnel.

A whopping $940m total was distributed unevenly between the teams after the 2016 season. Should it be a completely even payout of $94m to each team? Then you get the best engineered and designed car at the front of the grid, irregardless of how much Ferrari needs Formula One as a prestige selling point.

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Ross Brawn is clearly aware of the issue in question. Last month, he said,

“You look at some of the NFL teams and what they call their equity value. I think the Dallas Cowboys [value] is getting close to the whole value of Formula 1, and that doesn’t make sense really, does it? There was a time in American football where there was quite a heavily distorted reward system and the top two teams got the majority of the money and the rest of the teams struggled.

And the top two teams sacrificed their position in order to have an equitable solution. So when it became successful, much more successful because there was a spread [of teams succeeding], then the income of those top two teams surpassed what they were getting before because the sport becomes so much more successful.

Is there a lesson for us there?”

– Ross Brawn

Sainz

It’s really simple, it isn’t a sport if you can just outspend your rivals.