Big budgets are not the same as high performance

February 8, 2010

Comparing Budget (horizontal axis) with Team Performance (vertical axis) in 2009

The latest edition of Autosport features some figures from FormulaMoney regarding how the budgets of the teams have been reducing. Estimates on the operating budgets of the teams for 2009 were listed. It is interesting to compare the budgets of the teams with their actual performance. Here we can see that, certainly for 2009, there is no clear relationship between the two. Certainly the teams with the smallest budgets – Toro Rosso, Force India and Williams did not perform particularly well, but similarly the biggest spenders: McLaren, Toyota and Ferrari did not have so much to show for their big budgets either. The chart is skewed by the performance of Brawn and Red Bull Racing who both had a very successful year. Of course the point to remember on Brawn is that, in their Honda guise, the year before they had a budget up there with the big operators. So although they had a small operating budget in 2009 they benefitted from a very big budget while developing their 2009 car in 2008.

The interesting thing about this chart is that money does not correlate with success in Formula 1, you could say that it’s not the size of the budget, it’s what you do with it that matters. In this regard Formula 1 is no different from any other organisation trying to get more out of less.

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