Jump to content


Photo

1960s Starting Money


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 JonnyA

JonnyA
  • New Member

  • 21 posts
  • Joined: October 14

Posted 26 July 2022 - 11:42

Re-reading Motor Sport from 1965, Jenks mentions that winning that year's Monaco Grand Prix would net the winner £700 (presumably the equivalent in francs), compared to £50,000 (ditto dollars) for the Indy 500. It got me thinking, does anyone know what sort of starting money would have been paid back then? I suppose it was all kept very quiet at the time, each entrant playing it very close to their chest. Colin Chapman of course failed to reach an agreement with the Monaco organisers that year, as they refused guaranteed starting places for Mike Spence and Pedro Rodriguez. But what sort of starting money would he have expected, if Jim Clark hadn't been racing at Indy?



Advertisement

#2 Blue6ix

Blue6ix
  • Member

  • 167 posts
  • Joined: August 18

Posted 27 July 2022 - 18:19

Re-reading Motor Sport from 1965, Jenks mentions that winning that year's Monaco Grand Prix would net the winner £700 (presumably the equivalent in francs), compared to £50,000 (ditto dollars) for the Indy 500. It got me thinking, does anyone know what sort of starting money would have been paid back then? I suppose it was all kept very quiet at the time, each entrant playing it very close to their chest. Colin Chapman of course failed to reach an agreement with the Monaco organisers that year, as they refused guaranteed starting places for Mike Spence and Pedro Rodriguez. But what sort of starting money would he have expected, if Jim Clark hadn't been racing at Indy?

 

For what I have heard about and what I remember about that offering for Clark and for the starting money it was 70 times more less in that year's Monaco Grand Prix than what was paid at Indy 500.

 

Actually the prize money was little higher supposedly for Indy 500 that year, up to approximately 59 150 pounds even though it was also sometimes reported to be a bit lower, 46 000 pounds.

 

However in dollars it was 166 621 dollars approximately so that means for 2380,3 dollars or 845 pounds for the Monaco Grand Prix starting money.



#3 JtP2

JtP2
  • Member

  • 430 posts
  • Joined: December 13

Posted 27 July 2022 - 19:36

Can't remember where I read it, but the official starting money rates were published at the time. There was so much per team car and and extra payments for being DWC etc.  Iiirc it was £1500 for DWC, but it was a long time ago. Seem to remember thinking the payments weren't really that much, but these were minimum payments and I think there would be much individual team/ driver negotiation. The one that immediately springs to mind is Rob Walker getting paid enough to send his car to Argentina in 58.



#4 Frank Verplanken

Frank Verplanken
  • Member

  • 374 posts
  • Joined: July 04

Posted 27 July 2022 - 19:39

Can't say for 1965, but an article from Le Monde newspaper (May 16, 1969) gives a few details for the late 1960s. It mentions some sort of agreement having been made in Belgrade in 1966 (at an FIA congress perhaps ?) which stated that for GP events 90% of the purse should be allocated to starting money, with the other 10% for the best finishers. Obviously that was only valid for the promoters having agreed to it - Watkins Glen being a well known exception to this system - so maybe only concerned the (or some) European GP promoters ?

 

It goes on saying that early in 1969 in Francfort a new system was adopted for 1970 F1 events, with 60% of the purse supposed to go to the top finishers, with the other 40% for starting money. A major factor motivating the change seems to have been promoters getting fed up of having to hand out fat portions of their income from ticket sales to people having little better than starting grid specials to offer to the paying spectator.

 

It mentions a scheduled total of FF550,000 for the 1970 edition of the Monaco GP - around $106,000 or £44,000. Al Unser is listed as having won a little over $270K for his 1970 Indy 500 victory, with close to a million dollars distributed among the 33 starters that year. So Monaco was still quite off the Indy sums with a tenth of that, but not as much as it seems to have been a few years prior. And of course Indy was an exceptionally well funded race, with most other USAC National Championship events usually netting $10-15K for the winner. Whereas I guess other major Grands Prix probably had a purse similar to that of Monaco.

 

Of all the aspects of Grand Prix racing history, money is probably one of the least well documented. A shame nobody ever got around to doing a thorough research on the subject. Pretty sure a lot of the relevant source material is gone for ever too.



#5 JonnyA

JonnyA
  • New Member

  • 21 posts
  • Joined: October 14

Posted 27 July 2022 - 20:24

Thank you for those very interesting answers. I always assumed starting money had to be quite a lot more than prize money, because the sums for the latter seemed so low. 

 

The American races always paid much more - wasn't Jim's 1965 Indy win the direct cause of him becoming a tax exile?

 

I remember the organisers of early non-European events would pay for the cost of shipping cars over, but obviously they had to pay starting money on top.



#6 Steve123

Steve123
  • New Member

  • 21 posts
  • Joined: November 17

Posted 28 July 2022 - 10:48

This is an intriguing topic, because the money paid to competitors varied so much. At Rheims the prize money for the F1 races in the late 1950s was around £10,000 for first place. I don't think that any other venue came anywhere close to this. 

In the 1956 British Grand Prix the prize money for first place was only £500. At Aintree a year later it was several times bigger.

Starting money during the late 1950s for a world championship event seems to have been about £1000 for the top competitors, down to about £400-£600 for backmarkers. Drivers would normally expect to receive a share of this. Prize money at Pescara was just under £1000 for Stirling Moss in 1957. I have a feeling (not sure) that starting money may have gone down in the 1960s.

Jenks quote of £700 seems very low for winning to Monaco Grand prix (does anybody know for sure?). I wonder what the figure refers to? Does he refer to the actual prize money, or the money the driver might expect to receive? Most leading drivers would have received about 50% of the prize money (sometimes less), the remainder going to the entrant. On this basis, it would suggest that the prize money for the grand prix might have been £1400, of which the driver might receive the £700 mentioned. This seems more likely. There would, of course have been all sorts of bonuses and retainers as well as prize and starting money.

Even allowing for inflation (say x25), it is not a great deal of money.



#7 Michael Ferner

Michael Ferner
  • Member

  • 6,549 posts
  • Joined: November 09

Posted 28 July 2022 - 11:01

Indianapolis never paid appearance monies, that's part of the reason the purse was so high. Same for the US GP at Watkins Glen, I believe. Other races in the US did pay starting money, and for top contenders that would usually be slightly more than the winner's purse, I think.



#8 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 76,206 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 28 July 2022 - 11:24

There was a specific year when the Watkins Glen payment system changed...

 

I don't remember when it was, but about 1966 I think. Surely this is covered in Michael's book about the Glen?

 

As prizemoney was decent down to some lowly places, almost everyone was better off anyway.



#9 LOTI

LOTI
  • Member

  • 287 posts
  • Joined: August 04

Posted 29 July 2022 - 10:36

I can't pretend to know how much who got paid but up until the time Bernie got them organised the individual teams had to do a deal for start money. The rules, of course were very different and organisers wanted a good grid so quite often a single car would be entered for a Grand Prix for the driver's home race. Brabham entered 3 cars for the Brands Hatch British Grand Prix with Chris driving the third car. BRM entered 3 cars with the third in Tim Parnell's name. Brown envelopes were much in evidence at the prize giving, which you had to attend if you wanted paying. Watkins Glen was the only race where I believe they paid all finishers.

What I do know is that lots of boy racers spent a very happy summer towing their start money specials around Europe, sleeping in the car and living off the start money. I believe the money was in the region of £20, with a prize pot of maybe £50! Oh the good old days!

The reason no one has bothered to research it is that every race was different and every team would lie in their teeth about what they got. This would have been their main  source of income and not until the rules changed and sponsorship was allowed on the cars.... Was the Gold Leaf Lotus late 60s or early 70s? the only sponsorship allowed was fuel or tyres. Or am I making that up? Anyway, it was pretty much hand to mouth until Bernie got them organised, and a good deal richer in the process.

Loti



#10 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 6,668 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 29 July 2022 - 13:09

IIRC Peter Connew got £40 for the Darnval Connew starting the 1972 Austrian GP. 



#11 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 7,358 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 29 July 2022 - 14:09

I don't think it's quite true to say that 1960's starting money was by individual negotiation.  From the start of the decade, possibly from 1959, there was a series of scales - the Frankfurt Scale, the Monte Carlo Scale and the Mayfair Scale - which specified the money paid for two cars from each works team.  Third entries and private entries ("with the exception of Moss") were by negotiation between entrants and organisers.



#12 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 10,660 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 30 July 2022 - 00:56

While well off subject when I first started road racing in 81 I won more prize money then than when I ran at the front. Well over a $100 with an entry of $30.

This weekend at The Bend the Group N historics are paying about $1200 and getting used to sweep the track!! Prize money?  Not that I know of. 



#13 ReWind

ReWind
  • Member

  • 3,164 posts
  • Joined: October 03

Posted 30 July 2022 - 09:58

In his 1970 GP annual German author Ulrich Schwab gave a survey of the new salary system – in Swiss francs – which had been installed for that season (p. 29).

 

Expenses were paid to the entrants at Sfr 7.000 for each car qualified to start a race with Sfr 1.000 extra for the cars of the three most successful teams of 1969, i.e. Matra, Brabham, and Lotus.

 

During the first half of 1970 (races 1 to 7) drivers got boni for their successes in the 1969 championship races: Sfr 1.000 for each first place, Sfr 500 for each second place, Sfr 250 for each third place. This meant Sfr 6.500 for Jackie Stewart (6 wins, 1 second), Sfr 3.250 for Jacky Ickx (2 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third), Sfr 1.750 for Jochen Rindt (1 win, 1 second, 1 third) etc.

During the second half of 1970 (races 8 to 13) drivers got these boni for their successes in the the first half of the season.

 

Fastest and second fastest qualifying times were awarded at Sfr 1.000 resp. Sfr 350.

Each driver who achieved the required number of laps in practice and qualified within 110 % of the fastest time was paid Sfr 5.000. If he was slower he only got Sfr 4.000; if he was not only slower but also did not reach the required number of laps he only got Sfr 3.000.

 

Placings after a quarter of the race distance, half of the race distance and three quarters of the race distance were awarded at Sfr 4.000 (1st), Sfr 3.000 (2nd), Sfr 2.500 (3rd), Sfr. 2.000 (4th), Sfr 1.500 (5th), Sfr 1.200 (6th) and so on down to 20th.

Final race results were awarded at Sfr 20.000 (1st), Sfr 15.000 (2nd), Sfr 12.500 (3rd), Sfr 10.000 (4th), Sfr 8.000 (5th), Sfr 6.000 (6th) and so on down to Sfr 500 (20th).

 



#14 JonnyA

JonnyA
  • New Member

  • 21 posts
  • Joined: October 14

Posted 30 July 2022 - 12:28

Thanks, ReWind.

 

It appears that in 1970, 1 Sfr was worth approx. £1.70 or $2.00.



#15 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 76,206 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 30 July 2022 - 12:35

Originally posted by LOTI
.....This would have been their main  source of income and not until the rules changed and sponsorship was allowed on the cars.... Was the Gold Leaf Lotus late 60s or early 70s? the only sponsorship allowed was fuel or tyres. Or am I making that up?.....


The Gold Leaf deal came about in the second week of January, 1968...

Or that's when the cars got painted up, anyway.

But it's not true to say that starting money would have been the main source of income up until that time. There were still sponsorships even though signage on the cars was minimal.

And there were deals to be done (particularly) with suppliers, tyre testing contracts, advertising endorsements and more.

#16 Collombin

Collombin
  • Member

  • 6,910 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 30 July 2022 - 12:43

It appears that in 1970, 1 Sfr was worth approx. £1.70 or $2.00.


$2 USD? They can't both be right, as that means a rate of only $1.18 to £1 in 1970.

#17 Frank Verplanken

Frank Verplanken
  • Member

  • 374 posts
  • Joined: July 04

Posted 30 July 2022 - 12:54

Thanks Reinhard :up:

 

I have CHF 100 = $23 in 1970.

 

That would net someone like Stewart with an early season dominant win from pole around CHF 50,000 or $11,500. Close to what a 100-miler USAC or a Can-Am race would pay, but then SCCA series also had an end-of-season money fund for the top finihsers in points : $200,000 in 1970, including $50K for the champion Denny Hulme.


Edited by Frank Verplanken, 30 July 2022 - 12:54.