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  • Writer's pictureTereza Černá

Expenses of the feeder series

The road to Formula 1 is not just about talent, but about money as well. The feeder series are extremely expensive and only the wealthier or ones lucky with sponsors can afford to go on this journey.

Starting the journey to F1 is usually done at a very young age. Most current Formula 1 drivers will tell you that they started racing in karts at the age of 7, which is also the age that this becomes possible. Then the switch to cars, to Formula 4, comes around the age of 14-15. After Formula 4 it goes up pretty quickly, but also gets more expensive. Drivers tend to spend 1-2 seasons in each category but of course it varies.

In an interview for Hospodářské noviny, Roman Staněk Sr. spoke about the expenses of the feeder series. "I paid over 200 million (czk) for his career so far," he says. 200 million Czech crowns equals 8 124 500 euros. This was in time when Roman hadn't reached Formula 2 yet which is 3x times more expensive than Formula 3.

Every championship is different and every team is different. A season in Formula 4 costs 200 000 euros, Formula 3 costs 700 000 - 800 000 euros and Formula 2, on average, costs 2 million euros.

Why is it so expensive?

The driver coming to the team has to pay for the car, for the services of team which include maintenance of the car, fixing the car, media, garage, motorhome, management, organisation, engineering and so much more. So the driver is paying the salaries, the entry fies, the car and so much more.

This is when sponsorships come into play. It is extremely hard to find a sponsor but once a driver has sponsors that are willing to help with these kinds of costs, it’s immediately cheaper for the driver himself. There are hundreds, nearly thousands of drivers who are competing in various feeder series in the world right now and finding a well paying sponsor is challenging. It’s like a pack of wolves fighting for the same small prey.

Besides sponsors, academies help with the payments as well. When a driver is strong and has potential he is seeked by a F1 team academy which not only helps the driver develop skills and train but also helps with the costs of their racing so they can go to F1 one day.

To a certain extent, the costs make sense but unfortunately they eliminate talented drivers who can’t afford it.


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