F1 to lose $100m from Bahrain Grand Prix cancellation
On Monday the Crown Prince of Bahrain called off the race due to the civil unrest that has gripped the country for the past 10 days and filled the streets of its capital Manama, just minutes from the race circuit.
Some of the biggest losers will be F1's 12 teams since it is believed there are penalty clauses in their contracts with sponsors that would be triggered by missing a race.
Data from F1's trade guide, Formula Money, show that the teams are expected to lose an estimated $40m from missing Bahrain, with Ferrari set for the biggest fall at $11m. The Italian team receives more income from sponsorship than any of its rivals and so it stands to lose more from the race being scrapped.
The biggest-spending sponsor on the grand prix is Bahrain's national airline Gulf Air, which pays an estimated $6m for naming rights to the race. Its fee comprises around half of the total income from advertisers at the circuit and will leave a big hole in the pockets of CVC, the private equity firm that majority-owns F1's rights-holder, Formula One Administration (FOA).
The revenue from advertising at F1 circuits is received by FOA, which also gets the race hosting fees. Bahrain's royal family pays an estimated $34m annually but FOA's chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, has waived the fee since the race will not be taking place.
However, Ecclestone had already paid for tones of freight to be sent to the tiny Gulf state in advance of the race, which was scheduled to take place on March 13. The shipment will now be redirected to Australia, which will host the first race of the season on March 27.
Even if the political climate improves, it seems unlikely that Bahrain could host a Grand Prix later this year since the F1 calendar was already at breaking point with 20 races – the highest number ever held in one season. Last year 44,000 spectators paid a total of $14m to watch F1's opening round at the Bahrain International Circuit, which is ultimately owned by the country's royal family. If the protests escalate they stand to lose much more than that. Telegraph