Mercedes make profit despite spending triple F1's new budget cap in 2020

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Mercedes announced a post-tax profit of £13.6m despite spending just under £325m during 2020, accounts revealed.

The Brackley-based team has been Formula 1's biggest spenders for quite a few years now and, while some teams struggled with the financial fallout from Covid-19, Mercedes' total budget last year only represented a near £10m drop from 2019 with four fewer races.

Revenue also only took a small hit with an £8m drop from £363.6m the year earlier to £355.5m, as sponsorship made up for some income loss from F1's commercial agreement.

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What is significant about the £324.9m figure that Mercedes spent in total 2020 is it highlights just how much the team has had to reduce expenditure to meet F1's budget cap of $145m (£102m) this year.

Of course, the budget cap does not cover all the costs included in that £324.9m number, with high-price things like salaries among the items not included.

Engine development, however, is separate as accounts show the team paid the same £13m to Mercedes' HPP division as the other customers to use its power units.

The workforce at Brackley also grew to its highest number of 1,063 staff last year, with most of the new hires coming in the design and engineering departments.

However, with Mercedes pointing out the financial impact of Valtteri Bottas' crash at Imola earlier this year and pulling out of a planned 2022 F1 tyre test at Paul Ricard with Pirelli last week, it shows how close to the limit the team is.

"In 2021 the team will continue to develop its financial sustainability, aided by delivering maximum competitiveness under the new financial regulations and by diversifying and leveraging the capability of the team through the Applied Science division," team boss Toto Wolff explained.


As for the financial challenges of last year due to Covid, he said: "Thanks to the range of revenue streams during the year, the company is still able to maintain profitability and to meet all financial obligations.

"A prudent approach will continue to be taken in regard to possible impacts on the business, and contingency plans are regularly reviewed to mitigate effects of the virus on the business.

"As a high technology business, the team can adapt competitively and commercially to changes in its operating environment and will continue to invest in its capability and culture to ensure medium and long-term success both on and off the track."

At times, there have been questions over whether Mercedes' parent company Daimler would end their involvement in the F1 team, but figures revealed how important the sport remains to the value of the German manufacturer.

"In parallel to the team’s success in recent seasons, the Mercedes brand has grown in value from $31.9 billion in 2013 to $49.3 billion in 2020, with F1 making an important contribution to the brand’s status as the eighth-most valuable in the world," the company claimed.

And though total TV time dropped to just under 20% of coverage last year, Mercedes still generated the Advertising Value Equivalent of $5.873bn for their commercial partners.