When the world champion is already known and victory sometimes seems like a foregone conclusion, the last two Grands Prix of the year could change the fate of certain teams for next season.
Who said that the end of the Formula 1 season no longer matters? If the drivers’ title is already in the hands of Max Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Pérez should be second, the battle for places of honor remains fierce, especially among the manufacturers. The final two Grands Prix, in Las Vegas on November 19 and then in Abu Dhabi on November 26, will determine the teams’ rankings, which is anything but anecdotal. For certain teams, it is the design of the car for the coming seasons that takes place during these two races.
The redistribution of income by Formula 1 partly depends on the position of the teams in the constructors’ rankings at the end of the season. The exact distribution figures appear in the opaque, even secret Concorde Agreements, which regulate the governance and distribution of F1’s revenues. “This information is confidential. I can only be very vague, but we are talking about differences in millions, or even more than 10 million, depending on the final place.” reveals former Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul, consultant for france info: sport. The latter was at the negotiating table in 2020.
Two races for millions
Before the meeting in Las Vegas this weekend, much of the 2023 rankings remain to be determined. Mercedes (382 points) and Ferrari (362) are battling for second place behind Red Bull and are only 20 points apart. It’s about the same gap between McLaren and Aston Martin for fourth place (282 versus 261). If Alpine is assured of sixth place, anything from seventh to tenth remains possible between Williams (28 points), AlphaTauri (21), Alfa Romeo (16) and Haas (12).
No surprise then to see the AlphaTauri jumping for joy at seventh place and the six points achieved by Daniel Ricciardo in Mexico, or the smile after the five points achieved by Yuki Tsunoda at the last Grand Prix in Brazil. At the end of the Top 10, the smallest point can be decisive. “This has a significant impact on the development budget, especially for small teamsconfirms Cyril Abiteboul. It’s not so much about the budget of the current car, the difficulty is in developing the car during the next season. And this year’s performance will influence the ability of smaller teams to develop their cars next season.“
With revenues continuing to rise, F1 can offer its residents a piece of an ever-growing pie. And this while the maximum permitted budget is being further reduced: from 140 to 135 million dollars between 2022 and 2023. Every additional ticket is therefore a gift from heaven. “For example, a fin easily costs several hundreds of thousands of euros for the full cost price if we take the development time, the cost price, etc. into account. figure Cyril Abiteboul. And several tens of thousands more to reproduce the element once we develop it.“
If the majority of the teams, especially at the front, are safe from distress, for a team like Williams“If we go from 10th to 7th place, these are investment and development opportunities that open upemphasizes Cyril Abiteboul, while the historic F1 team has been in full renovation since the takeover in 2021.
Want to finish further down the rankings to get more time?
The classification of manufacturers entails a limitation other than a purely financial limitation. A number of hours in the wind tunnel, a gigantic tunnel intended to observe the effects of air currents on the car, is allocated to the teams according to their position at the end of the season. “This affects the aerodynamic development capacity of a team. Unlike income distribution where the better you are classified, the more you receive a significant share, in the wind tunnel it is the opposite. We give less to those at the top. The aim of this principle of redistribution is to give the people at the bottom slightly more opportunities.“
“This does not alter the fact that Red Bull is aerodynamically very efficient.“, tempers our advisor. If Max Verstappen’s team does not suffer from this disadvantage, it has the merit of being able to level the competition. Or at least partially.