F1 stands to lose more than £1.3 billion a year – almost half of its total annual revenue – from the Formula One Teams' Association's breakaway series, it has been calculated, with the investment and sponsorship benefits traditionally provided by the FOTA dissenters set to cost the top flight dear indeed.
The eight FOTA rebels – Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, BMW-Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso and current runaway world championship leaders Brawn GP – announced this morning that, following a breakdown in discussions with the FIA over Max Mosley's controversial budget cap proposal for 2010, they are to go ahead with their threat of establishing a breakaway from next season onwards.
According to industry monitor Formulamoney
, that is set to cost F1 far more than just some of its most famous names and all of its manufacturers, with the 'FOTA eight' bringing an annual $2.2 billion to the sport in terms of sponsorship (£407 million), supplier deals (£33 million) and team owner contributions (£917 million) – equivalent to 47 per cent of all income in 2008, so a far from inconsiderable chunk.
Moreover, in the absence of the leading teams – and by extension, therefore, most likely its leading drivers too – there is the fear that fans will hold off from booking tickets to next year's grands prix. That could have the knock-on effect of making it difficult for race promoters to afford the hosting fees – currently worth an average of £14.5 million per event to Bernie Ecclestone's commercial rights-holding Formula One Management (FOM) company – whilst television revenue, corporate hospitality and trackside advertising could also take a significant hit. Formulamoney
reports that £336 million is required for F1 to satisfy its annual costs and liabilities and remain solvent.