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The cost of Formula 1 in the 1970s


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#1 Bondurand

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 08:21

Bonjour TNF :wave:

I tried to search out this question but I could find no answer. Forgive me if there is another trend yet on the topic, I did not noticed it.

What was the price of a formula 1 in the seventies, when it was possible to go to the shop, buy one and race it in local or even World Championship events?

This question can be seen as many ones, so I hope to have many answers in this trend :

How much was it to hire a March 761 for a Grand Prix in 1977?
How much did Graham Hill bought his Shadow DN1? then his Lolas?
How much did a DFV cost, and how many races could it be used?
How much did it cost to go to Brazil or South Africa with a team?

Any information on costs of formula 1 from 1971 to 1979 would be welcomed.

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 08:30

From memory, the Williams budget for 1979 was 19m... more than doubling, IIRC, for 1980...

#3 Twin Window

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 08:33

McLaren's budget for 1972 was GBP 250,000...

Not sure about your figures, Ray, as I'm pretty sure Lotus were running on approx GBP 5m in 1985.

#4 Bondurand

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 10:05

:clap: thanks, that is a good starting point. I remember that prices grew quickly (not only in the racing field :cry: ) at that time so any other input is welcomed ;)

My goal is to see

1) how budget inflated from year to year

2) the relative price of privateering and building one's own chassis

Maybe Barry Boor's knowledge of the Connew adventure may help?

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 12:04

Okay... maybe it was $19m and $39m... and maybe it was 1980 and 1981... but I doubt it...

It was on a tape I transcribed from Alan Jones. I left RCN in November '79... so 1980 seems to be unlikely. American dollars are likely.

#6 RS2000

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 12:05

When first available, a DFV famously cost £7,500. How long it stayed at that price is another question - and fairly academic at a time when there was nowhere else to go for rebuilds/parts.

#7 fausto

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 12:09

I remember a piece on "Il Corriere della Sera", Milan's national newspaper, when Brambilla "got" the now infamous Swedish GP pole position, it said that Brambilla Beta budget for that year was 80 millions of Italian Lire, while Ferrari had a budget of 300 millions...at about the same time a Lancia Statos was at 8,5 millions, Autosprint, the Italian weekly was at 300 Lire, now is at 2,5 Euros... :)

#8 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 12:23

Originally posted by Ray Bell


It was on a tape I transcribed from Alan Jones. I left RCN in November '79... so 1980 seems to be unlikely. American dollars are likely.

Up until 81' it was about $ for $ give or take a cent or two - after that it all went Uncle Sams way- as spectators we tried to keep a note or two to cash up later, only problem we could not keep enough of them!

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 13:37

Originally posted by RS2000
When first available, a DFV famously cost £7,500. How long it stayed at that price is another question - and fairly academic at a time when there was nowhere else to go for rebuilds/parts.


No doubt they were much dearer when they were cast in magnesium instead of aluminium...

Patrick, my comment about American dollars was regarding what Jonesy was talking about. And from my recollection, '75 was the watershed year for the devaluation of the Aussie dollar... or was it the floating of the Aussie dollar? Maybe it was devalued in '75 and then floated in '81?

#10 Ruairidh

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 14:31

This is a subject that has long interested me and about which there is very little information, and what there is tends to be fragments of data. And I guess that is not surprising if you think about the nature of Motor Racing (especially F1) and the personalities involved and their traits around money.......Additionally I sense most Motor Racing writers really ain't that interested in the business side of things.

Ray, I'm not sure what the sterling equivalent is to the sum you mentioned, but my understanding is that in the late 70's (e.g 78 and 79) top teams (e.g. Team Lotus) were still operating on budgets in the very low single millions sterling. I do have some scraps of information which I've been meaning to pull together but haven't 'cos I know there are glaring gaps which I'd rather fill before expending the time.

#11 Terry Walker

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 14:43

The 70s was when big time inflation hit, as I remember. I'd say a dramatic increase to international phone number size budgets started happening about then, although probably the underlying value of the budget wasn't that much bigger.

#12 Bondurand

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 15:55

Originally posted by Ruairidh
I do have some scraps of information which I've been meaning to pull together but haven't 'cos I know there are glaring gaps which I'd rather fill before expending the time.


Well I hope this topic is the occasion to gather all scraps of information and try together to give some insight on that matter :D

If we are able to give figures for top teams and back griders for some of the years, we will have more of an idea for the missing figures.

I think that the most difficult to find reliably is the salaries of pilots and team-managers ;)

#13 petefenelon

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 16:13

Originally posted by Bondurand
Bonjour TNF :wave:

I tried to search out this question but I could find no answer. Forgive me if there is another trend yet on the topic, I did not noticed it.

What was the price of a formula 1 in the seventies, when it was possible to go to the shop, buy one and race it in local or even World Championship events?

This question can be seen as many ones, so I hope to have many answers in this trend :

How much was it to hire a March 761 for a Grand Prix in 1977?
How much did Graham Hill bought his Shadow DN1? then his Lolas?
How much did a DFV cost, and how many races could it be used?
How much did it cost to go to Brazil or South Africa with a team?

Any information on costs of formula 1 from 1971 to 1979 would be welcomed.


Don't know about 77, but a brand new March 701 rolling chassis was £9k and a DFV wasn't much more than £7.5k in 1970 - I think a Hewland box was about £4k then wasn't it?

I think an early DFV could do two race weekends before it really wanted major work but I'm sure people ran them longer at the rag, tag and bobtail end of the grid.

I too would be interested to hear how little one had to pay to get one's bum into a backmarker F1 car in the 70s. I'd guess that you could do a European race in a tired old privateer car for around £10-20k into the mid-seventies.

#14 Ruairidh

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 16:21

Originally posted by Bondurand



I think that the most difficult to find reliably is the salaries of pilots and team-managers ;)


If by Team Managers you mean the owners - I agree. My impression is that the most difficult thing to find is how much was left for the Bernies and Colins of the world after all the expenses (including drivers) were paid........

#15 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 16:49

Roger Penske was quoted somewhere that the budget for his F1 team for 1976 was $50,000. Not sure if that was operating costs for the season or the total of everything; sounds like the former.

#16 Ruairidh

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 17:54

One reference point I recall is a friend of my families who had business dealings with Colin Chapman referring in 1979 to the then record football transfer of Steve Daley (UKpounds 1.5m) and saying Chapman had told him he could run Team Lotus for a year on that amount of money.

#17 Frank de Jong

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 17:57

Can't imagine a budget of $50.000 in 1976. Toine Hezemans should know.

He tried to hire the PC3 (the March-lookalike) in that year for Boy Hayje's home Grand Prix. Unfortunately for them Penske won the race before that (Austria), so the hire rate went skyhigh. They decided to buy the car (!) instead - quoted at 78.000 pound sterling, including a fresh DFV engine.
Afterwards, they managed to sell the car, and made a little profit, just enough to pay for the Zandvoort weekend.

Those were the days...

Hayje's 1977 drive at the MacDonald team cost over 1 million guilders then - for a handful of races.

#18 philippe charuest

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 18:29

Originally posted by Twin Window
McLaren's budget for 1972 was GBP 250,000...

Not sure about your figures, Ray, as I'm pretty sure Lotus were running on approx GBP 5m in 1985.

GBP 250.000 in 72 was a decent budget in the book "grand prix dans le secret des stand" by gerard crombac published in 1973, theres the budget of the jps/lotus team and it was 3.000.000 franc meaning more or less 600.000 dollars wich i guess is not much more then GBP 250.000. and im pretty sure that Tyrell was running with the same kind of money.

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 22:07

So has my lousy memory multiplied the figures by ten?

$1.9m in '79, $3.9m in 1980?

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#20 philippe charuest

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 22:35

the starting point of the delirious inflation ,the trigger was 1976 . the first season to be televise woldwide. in the early seventies the top team were doing a season with less then a million dollar. in 76 it was already more 3-4 million in 1980 it was already 10 million . and since the eighties budget have double every 5 years

#21 eldougo

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 08:27

:)

I remember speaking to Hector Rebaque in 1979 and he spoke of a figuer of 3Mil $ to run the complete team.
1----- 2 Cars.....2nd hand.
2---- 4 Motors.
3---- 6 Gear boxes.
4 ---- 1Transporter.
5-----1 Motorhome .
6-----1 Workshop....rent
7----- Staff off 8 people. :up:

You could not buy a F1 steering wheel these days for that MONEY.

#22 RAP

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 09:36

You could not buy a F1 steering wheel these days for that MONEY.



One problem here is to allow for the effect of general inflation. I guess that as most teams were and still are UK based then UK inflation is as good as any to use. Between 1979 and today the UK Retail Price Index has increased approximatly 3.25 times, thus $3m converted to sterling would be the equivalent of $10m today, (it is also complicated by changes in the exchange rate but in fact the £/$ rate has not varied much between 1979 $ =£0.49 and 2005 $=£0.52 although there have been quite big variations within the period). This is well short of a full budget for even a "minnow" but it would , I think, buy a seat!

Richard

#23 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 09:55

There has always been some question about the Penske reference to his 1976 expeditures. However, it seems that it was not a program which was funded to the level one might have thought. I have always thought that it was a mis-quote and the number was closer to $500,000, the $50,000 perhaps being what he spent on his driving talent for the season.

#24 Bondurand

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:36

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Thanks to all, this is good information !

Any idea of the price of a one-GP car rental?

And How much did it cost to go to other continents?

#25 stevewf1

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 13:40

This is a bit off-topic as it concerns the 1966 season, but here is a quote from the 1966-1967 Automobile Year about the 8th Grand Prix of the United States at Watkins Glen:

"For 1966 the organizers put up the largest purse ever in a road race, over $100,000! The first prize of $20,000 exceeded the combined first prizes in all the other 1966 Grand Prix."

#26 philippe7

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 14:20

Deep, deep in my basement I found "Autosport Annual 1973" . I knew there was something in it that could be of use to this debate . There it is...... ( I assume it's OK to put Autosport copyright material on this forum now ;) )


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#27 ian senior

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 14:37

Driver fee - £40,000. Unbelievable today.

#28 philippe7

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 14:47

Indeed .....and the income from the "second" ( ie = pay ) driver at 40,000 £ too, which answers part of Bondurand's question.....a seat was worth 3,000 to 3,500 £ a race .

#29 jgm

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 16:08

In a little publicity magazine called 'Equipe Elf' published for the Racing Car Show in London in 1975 Ken Tyrrell gave the following information about the cost of running his team.

'In 1974 Elf Team Tyrrell spent £600,000 to build, maintain and race a two-car team in formula 1, and the figure is 20 percent higher than in 1973 when we won the world championship. If you divide those 1974 costs over the 15-race season it works out at £40,000 to roll our two cars ... onto the starting grid at every race. Race prize money simply doesn't keep pace. When we finished first and second in Sweden this year we collected a total of £17,000 in prize money. When Jody Won the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch, the prize money was £11,000'.

Tyrrell went on to say that it costs £9266 to buy one Cosworth DFV and that his team owned eleven DFVs - 'just over £20 per horsepower'.

#30 scheivlak

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 16:18

Wages for 11 staff £ 18.000 a year - :confused:

#31 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 18:11

Originally posted by stevewf1
This is a bit off-topic as it concerns the 1966 season, but here is a quote from the 1966-1967 Automobile Year about the 8th Grand Prix of the United States at Watkins Glen:

"For 1966 the organizers put up the largest purse ever in a road race, over $100,000! The first prize of $20,000 exceeded the combined first prizes in all the other 1966 Grand Prix."


This was a masterstroke by Cameron Argetsinger and one that the teams readily bought into since they could do considerably well regardless of where they finished compared to their usual lot on the Eastern Shores of the Atlantic. We spoke about this at length on several occasions and it was an audacious idea which worked.

#32 Niky

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 04:25

Hi to all!

I am looking for information about money & costs in F1... From dirvers' "salaries", prizes, etc, to the costs of building a car throught the years.

I think there was a previous thread on that... Wasnt it? If so, I cannot find it : Any help and/or info will be welcome!

Thanks! Niky

#33 Barry Boor

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 08:53

I don't know where I was when this thread first appeared. I'm sure I would have chipped in had I seen it.

Over the 20 or so months that the Connew project existed (as an F.1 car, that is) I would hazard a guess that the 'budget' - if you can call it that - would have come up something less than £20,000.

The deal with Monsieur Migault was for £40,000 and 5 races - but in the end I think all that Peter actually had from him was around £10,000, which was why he never got the races he should have had.

Prior to his arrival on the scene, ALL the money that was spent on materials etc was out of Peter Connew's own pocket from wages earned by him at the job he was doing at the time. (This was after he had quit Team Surtees)

Capricorn, the frozen sea food company whose colours were on the car from Brands Hatch on, paid us nothing. Their contribution was simply to pay for the painting of the car.

In fact, it must be mentioned that without the kindness of so many people in the racing business, the project would never have turned a wheel.

McLaren for the supply of the engine, for which they took no payment until it was eventually sold on to Alain de Cadenet; then there were so many bits and pieces supplied free of charge - IIRC, screens, exhausts, oil, tyres to name but a few.

All in all, a ridiculous state of affairs to try to run a Grand Prix car from, but it wasn't half fun!

#34 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 09:57

Originally posted by Ray Bell




Patrick, my comment about American dollars was regarding what Jonesy was talking about. And from my recollection, '75 was the watershed year for the devaluation of the Aussie dollar... or was it the floating of the Aussie dollar? Maybe it was devalued in '75 and then floated in '81?

Ray so sorry to have missed this, it must be called "tottering by gently" - but yes it was around '81 that the dollar was floated - many made lots and many lost huge amounts and the odd family farm. The FX market was exciting to the people who guessed right, but catastrophic to the guys who got it wrong. An NZ farmer and Lotus 10 owner was an example of someone who got it very wrong.
The amount involved would have supported a complete F1 team four years prior.

#35 rdmotorsport

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 11:23

Interesting and like everything else when you get to my age you forget how prices and money values have changed that plus I am sure dementure as finally arrived!
Minst you I can remember in the 1984 F3 season talking with Allen Berg at Silverstone and agreeing the general charge for a good class A F3 seat for the season would be £120K to which I was receiving less than half that ammount for running a class B car and charging £3K a race for class A drive it did cross my mind then this was a simular figure Theodore were charging 2 years prior for a F1 drive although to compensate and help with this they had a few trade sponsors etc.,plus in 1982 the Dome effort for Le Mans run by I think John McDonald(that memory again)!,the third seat so to speak with limited laps was for circa £3K according to a conversation at the time with Chris Craft
.A very good South African engine builder Roger Taylor was building DFV s one actually won either at Watkins Glen or Long Beach(sod that memory) in the late seventies and early eighties for around £2K a time, and it was muted Ian Ashley or his sponsor was paying Hesketh Racing £4K a race and then shared the start and prize money.I also know of a F1 team in latter half of the seventies rented and run their second car at a European GP for a mere £3200 because this was thier running costs for the week end event and took the line without this money they would really struggle to go at all so at least if they went no problems with litigation from sponsors and a good chance of start, tv and prize money etc ( they concluded like Louis Stanley before them if you can run one car then why not two etc. so what would be the downside a engine rebuild ,the engine already was well in need of this ,a shunt , well T.L.Clownes would cover for this etc.etc.?, they came home in the points,secured some extra local financial support which was enough for to cover the next three races providing they did not do anything silly and squander this new found cash on silly things like testing or paying team thier back wages etc,.!
Who mentioned the price of a modern day steering wheel?

Rodney Dodson.

#36 mariner

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 11:47

As an accountant I find all of this very interesting.

As a long time Lotus fan I often wonder what Colin Chapman would think of today's F1?

I suspect he would find the restrictive rules and lack of any real innovation for about 10 years now to be appalling BUT he would find the riches available to any half competent ( by his standards)team owner or principal utterly attractive.

Two BTW's

Firstly, how apt that Team Lotus won only one GP in 1966 but it was the US GP with the biggest prize fund!

Secondly a couple of years ago I was selling a car and a member of the then Jaguar F1 team came to see it. Without offending him I didn't get the impression that he was particularly high up in the Jag F1 hierarchy but he arrived in a top spec Volvo estate company car with sat nav etc. Some of the F1 inflation seems to have gone into everybody involved going from poorly paid to very well paid regardless of success.

I am not saying the old days of cheap mechanics were right as some of them had families etc. but some of the inflation is, I think, actually self reward.

#37 rdmotorsport

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 12:34

Trust me when I say we all would prefer the monies that go around these days, getting a decent pay in my days was one thing but to actually get paid on time and the full ammount was in itself an achievement, but it was fun.

#38 giacomo

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 13:08

Originally posted by Ruairidh
Ray, I'm not sure what the sterling equivalent is to the sum you mentioned, but my understanding is that in the late 70's (e.g 78 and 79) top teams (e.g. Team Lotus) were still operating on budgets in the very low single millions sterling. I do have some scraps of information which I've been meaning to pull together but haven't 'cos I know there are glaring gaps which I'd rather fill before expending the time.

Should be correct. I found following amounts concerning Team Lotus 1978 (source: German rallye racing).

John Player Special sponsorship: 750 000 Pound Sterling
Olympus sponsorship: 230 000 Pound Sterling
Conte Zanon sponsorship for number two driver: 1 000 000 Swiss Francs ~ 200 000 Pound Sterling


And apparently Tyrrells number one driver Patrick Depailler earned some 20 000 Pound Sterling back then.

#39 giacomo

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 13:11

Originally posted by petefenelon
I too would be interested to hear how little one had to pay to get one's bum into a backmarker F1 car in the 70s. I'd guess that you could do a European race in a tired old privateer car for around £10-20k into the mid-seventies.

Lamberto Leoni paid an - uncovered - pay check of £ 25.000 for his four 1978 entries with Ensign.

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#40 beighes

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 04:51

Greetings..........More trivia here. During one of my "audiences" with Don Nichols, he offered this. During the first (or second, I can't remember now) year of the Shadow F/One effort, UOP gave them/him $475,000 in funding. According to Don, several team owners thought that it was a gross amount to spend. Now for the big question......how much actually was used for the team expenses?? Just a thought. Cheers!!

#41 anbeck

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 20:52

What a great thread!

Does anybody know how these numbers compare to sports cars in the same era?

Originally posted by philippe charuest
GBP 250.000 in 72 was a decent budget in the book "grand prix dans le secret des stand" by gerard crombac published in 1973,


I'd love to track this book down. Does anybody have more details? I can only find his "Les années..." books and the Colin Chapman books. :

EDIT: Thanks, I think I tracked down the last exemplary sold online :clap:
Any information on sports car budgets would still be highly appreciated :)

#42 ghinzani

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 00:38

.I also know of a F1 team in latter half of the seventies rented and run their second car at a European GP for a mere £3200 because this was thier running costs for the week end event and took the line without this money they would really struggle to go at all so at least if they went no problems with litigation from sponsors and a good chance of start, tv and prize money etc ( they concluded like Louis Stanley before them if you can run one car then why not two etc. so what would be the downside a engine rebuild ,the engine already was well in need of this ,a shunt , well T.L.Clownes would cover for this etc.etc.?, they came home in the points,secured some extra local financial support which was enough for to cover the next three races providing they did not do anything silly and squander this new found cash on silly things like testing or paying team thier back wages etc,.!
Who mentioned the price of a modern day steering wheel?

Rodney Dodson.


My thats cheap. Even into the ground effect era?


#43 roger.daltrey

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 06:35

You know the Penske quote of £50,000 to run his F1 team in '76 could be correct.

RP has/had a complex set of companies setup, and this may have excluded most of the mechanicals - as this could have been provided by one of his other companies ??

The quote could be valid, as he has a good business brain, and most of his real costs could have been 'written off' in his mind - just leaving incidentals, travel and other sundries.

Just a thought.

I seem to remember the Lotus budget in the mid eighties was paltry as most of it went to Senna !!




#44 thomaskomm

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 06:59

Okay... maybe it was $19m and $39m... and maybe it was 1980 and 1981... but I doubt it...

It was on a tape I transcribed from Alan Jones. I left RCN in November '79... so 1980 seems to be unlikely. American dollars are likely.


A DFV cost ca. 9.266 Pounds(including VAT) midseventies, rebuild cost long years only 500 Pounds (Sterling). You can drive 600miles before rebuilt with this engine. 1977 the engine cost nearly 15.000 pounds sterling.I have this infos from the book Cosworth-the search of power from Graham Robson. This is a great book!


#45 stevewf1

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 10:19

I seem to remember the Lotus budget in the mid eighties was paltry as most of it went to Senna !!


I remember a quote from Ron Dennis about "never being held hostage again by a driver" about Senna's salary demands when the money could have been better spent developing the car. Was it 1993?

Edited by stevewf1, 17 June 2010 - 10:20.


#46 Joe Bosworth

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 05:09


Let me share information from Maurice Hamilton´s book ¨Williams¨. I believe that his information is likely to be very authoritative.

Patrick Head is quoted as saying that the single car, part season budget for 1977 was GBP 200,000. This included all of the startup costs after Frank had broken away from the Wolf-Williams deal. This was outside without FOCAfunding.
help

By 1979 the two car budget with FOCA support was GBP 500,000 which gave them a 2nd in the WCC and 3rd and 5th in the WDC.

Regards






#47 Chezrome

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 08:35

Should be correct. I found following amounts concerning Team Lotus 1978 (source: German rallye racing).

John Player Special sponsorship: 750 000 Pound Sterling
Olympus sponsorship: 230 000 Pound Sterling
Conte Zanon sponsorship for number two driver: 1 000 000 Swiss Francs ~ 200 000 Pound Sterling


And apparently Tyrrells number one driver Patrick Depailler earned some 20 000 Pound Sterling back then.


Remember: In short: 100 pound sterling in 2001 would have been worth 783 pounds in 2001! So John Player Special payed in 1978 what would be worth 5.250.000 million now (or 6 million euro).

#48 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 08:47

A big enough budget to break even(single-car) if you raced in the 2010 Indycar series. Or what a winning MotoGP rider(non-Rossi) would be offered to change teams for 2011.

It would be interesting to plot F1 budgets and driver salaries against cost of living and average civillian salaries over a time period, to see at what point F1 started to get out of control cost-wise.

Ian Senior said 40,000 would be an unbelievable driver salary today. True it wouldn't get you much of an F1 driver, but £40k in 2010 would make most people who didn't own yachts happy. Especially if your 9 to 5 was driving race cars.

#49 stevewf1

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 10:26

I think all Major League Sports are way over-inflated in terms of costs and salaries... Are we as a society really that bored?


#50 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 11:27

Well that'd be interesting to find out, as in the years where an F1 driver was on 40,000 I doubt the average worker was on anywhere near that.