Brawn Outlines Plan for Fairer Funds Distribution in F1

Ryan Ashenhurst

It’s a topic that has been at the forefront of discussion for a number of years around Formula One. The distribution of funds circulating between teams as it stands see’s a huge gap between the top three teams, McLaren and the rest of the grid. Brawn is looking to change that.

Results on-track haven’t correlated with the ratio of pay-off. Ferrari bring a lot of fans to Formula One and benefit from the prestige of the sport from a commercial perspective. Does this benefit the Italian manufacturer more than it does the sport?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 26: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H on track during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 26, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 26: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H on track during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 26, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Ross Brawn is looking to equalise the distribution of funds a bit more effectively, and said,

“The costs are very important. My fellow directors have been brought up in a culture where sports teams are profitable ventures.

They look at Formula 1 and you have to pay someone to take the team off your hands. We have to try to make moves towards changing the business model for a non-manufacturer team.

We want the manufacturers in, we want their support, but we want to make the business model for a non-manufacturer team viable.”

– Ross Brawn

See Also: Why Brawn’s Influence is Needed at the Top

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Sergio Perez of Mexico and Force India celebrate on the podium during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2016 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 29: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Sergio Perez of Mexico and Force India celebrate on the podium during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2016 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

We want to see manufacturers win races on merit, through the top-tier drivers they can bring in and the engineering excellence of the cars they create. It can’t be considered sporting to simply outspend your rival. It’s a much more sensitive subject in Formula One than it is in a sport like Football. If Manchester United buy Paul Pogba for a record-breaking fee, they can’t then anatomically tweak Pogba as the season progresses to improve his game.

In Formula One, a Mercedes, Ferrari or a Red Bull can start out as a bit of a flop, but spend behind the scenes can go through the roof as R&D is conducted and brought to the package in the form of updates. Teams like Force India and Sauber don’t have this luxury, so have to either drop off as the season progresses, or rely on an upgrade working substantially well compared to a top team, who can bring update after update.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 06: Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy and Sauber F1 and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari talk in the Drivers Press Conference during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 6, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA – APRIL 06: Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy and Sauber F1 and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari talk in the Drivers Press Conference during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 6, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Brawn added,

“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

SEE ALSO: We talked about the NFL system in F1 early on in 2016

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If a distribution system is attractive to manufacturers and independents looking to break into the sport, then not only will the bigger teams benefit anyway from a wider catchment of audience and engagement, but will be able to call their victories on a purer merit.

Ferrari winning in Australia is great for Formula One, it mixes it up a bit and suggests a good fight with Mercedes in 2017. But it’s a slight niggle to be aware that the Italian Manufacturer, like the Mercedes giants, will never succumb to completely falling off the wagon because of the financial parachute that perpetually protects them. That isn’t pure sport, it’s a two-tier system that is realised with the term “top three” and puts smaller teams who are already at a disadvantage at a greater one.

Brawn and the new owners appear to be aware of this, and looking to the NFL is a very relevant reference to make.

2016 Payments Following the 2015 Season:

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