Formula One (F1) is arguably the most valuable sport per event in the world.
According to an estimate by industry analyst Formula Money, F1 took in $4.3
billion in total revenue in 2007, a figure that includes $800 million from on-
car sponsorships that display sponsors’ logos on the race cars, $1.5 billion
spent by team owners, $380 million from television rights, ticket sales of
some $300 million, and trackside advertising of more than $160 million.
Considering that 18 international events generated all those revenues – for
a whopping average of more than $250 million dollars per race –F1 finan-
cial flows easily withstands comparison to the $6.5 billion generated by the
National Football League and the $5.1 billion from Major League Baseball
for full regular- and post-season operations in 2006. F1 television audienc-
es averaging 575 million annually in 2007-2009–or 32 million for each of
18 races – compares extremely favourably to the viewership for an FA Cup
Final or a UEFA Champions League match, against which F1 benchmarks it-
Moreover, F1 is truly global and making a direct appeal to countries
with burgeoning populations of middle-class young men: in 2011 almost half
the races –Malaysia, China, Turkey, Hungary, Singapore, South Korea, India,
Abu Dhabi, and Brazil –will be in emerging countries.
The “formula” in Formula One refers to the mass of regulations to which sin-
gle-seat open-wheel racing cars must conform to compete on the Grand Prix
circuit. The masters of racing christened the rules for Grand Prix as “formula
one” shortly after World War II, thus distinguishing a special category of ma-
chine from inferior orders of being. That a vehicle may be certified as such
places it among the ne plus ultra of formula racing.
But at the heart of the F1 ecosystem (see Figure 5.4) is the race itself, consist-
ing of two dozen advanced racing machines competing in an individual event
that pits the world’s best drivers and racing technologies against each other.
In 2011, 19 races in 18 countries make up the Fédération Internationale de
l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship season. The 12 teams
and 24 drivers who compete on 20 Sundays from March to November vie for
two separate championships, one for drivers and one for “constructors” – each
team must build and race its own car. The races are run on tracks of varying
lengths that are either purpose-built circuits or street layouts and cover a dis-
tance of approximately 190 miles (305 km) in up to two hours, depending on
local peculiarities. Race day crowds range up to 150,000 or more spectators,
who generally gather for an entire three-day weekend that includes two days
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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