Ferrari is Formula One auto racing’s most famous team and as Forbes recently revealed it has the biggest budget. However, its latest financial statements contain the stunning revelation that its research and development costs are actually reversing.
Last year, it was revealed that Scuderia Ferrari’s single biggest expense is R&D which came to €509.6m ($536.9 million at the rate on the filing date of 31 December 2016), the period which covered the research and design of the team’s 2017 car which was to ultimately challenge Mercedes for the title(s).
Company filings subsequently revealed that “the main component of research and development costs expensed related to the research and development performed for the Formula 1 racing car”, which, assuming a figure of around 75% gives an R&D expenditure of around $402.7m excluding the team’s salaries and running costs.
2017 filings however, which cover the design of the current 2018 car, reveal a “decrease in research and development expenses for Formula 1 activities.”
According to a recent article published by Forbes, like Mercedes, Scuderia Ferrari is thought to be spending around $98.4m on staff – with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen accounting for around half of that – while the annual running costs are in the region of $70m bringing its total F1 costs to a staggering $571.1m.
This is partly offset by the $190m prize money, then there is the $514.1m generated from “sponsorship, commercial and brand” as in 2016, which “includes net revenues earned by our Formula 1 racing team, through sponsorship agreements and our share of the Formula 1 World Championship commercial revenues, and net revenues generated through the Ferrari brand, including merchandising, licensing and royalty income.” Again using 2016 as an example, taking all into account, including engine deals with customer teams, Ferrari’s income that year was around $470m from F1, leaving it with a deficit of around $101.1m which was absorbed by the company’s total costs.
While some would argue that were Ferrari to withdraw from F1 it would no longer need to cover the deficit, the fact is that Ferrari needs F1 as much as F1 needs Ferrari.