70 FALL 2013
now ex-wife Slavica, who he had married
in 1985, and their two young children.
Ecclestone’s initial idea was to float
FOPA, but he was told this would be tough
since it did not directly own the commercial
rights to F1. They are ultimately owned by
the FIA, which had granted them to the
teams, who let FOPA manage them. To
swerve around this, the FIA transferred to
Ecclestone’s personal investment vehicle,
FOCA Administration (now Formula One
Management), the commercial rights to
The best business move of his career had
handed him the keys to the billionaires’ club.
Since then, Ecclestone has made $3.9bn
from selling stakes in the company and
taking out loans secured on its revenues.
Despite the company changing hands
repeatedly, he’s managed to stay in the
driving seat. Crucially, he also ensured that
F1’s main revenue streams stayed within
the company. Many major sports let venues
arrange the advertising and corporate
hospitality during their events, but not F1.
The latest financial statements for F1’s
parent company Delta Topco are for the
year-ending Dec. 31, 2011 and show
revenues of $1.5bn. This generally comes
from four main sources (see table, page 72).
Trackside advertising at each race and
series sponsorship comprises 15 percent
of the total revenue. This comes from
companies such as the Emirates airline
and watch manufacturer Rolex, which are
two of F1’s official partners. Corporate
hospitality, freight fees and revenues
from the GP2 and GP3 support series
add around 20 percent of the total.
Fees from F1’s 63 TV contracts bring in
32 percent of the revenue and are second
only to the money received from the races
on the calendar. Together, the race hosting
fees comprise 33 percent of the total,
adding up to $512m in 2011.
Just five years earlier, the revenue
from race hosting fees “only” came to
$304m. But it’s been boosted by more
than $200m, thanks to a bidding war
for the prized slots on F1’s calendar.
For many countries, holding an F1 race
F1 for 14 years beginning Jan. 1, 1997.
Incredibly, in 2001, a new deal added
another 100 years to the agreement, giving
a new expiration date of Dec. 31, 2110.
Ecclestone owned 100 percent of
FOCA Administration, giving him complete
control of F1’s rights for the first time in
history. In return, the FIA received a paltry
annual sum of $10.3m. In 1997 alone,
FOCA Administration made a net profit of
$90.7m, giving Ecclestone an annual return
on investment of more than 900 percent.
(ABOVE) TV rights
were the catalyst
that set F1 on teh
financial fast track in
the early 1980s and
they remain key today.
(ABOVE RIGHT) The
’ 72 season was Bernie
Ecclestone’s first year
as an F1 team owner,
998 1993 1985 2000 1997 1986 1987 1999 1988 2001 2002 003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 013 1989 1992
When Bernie Ecclestone rolled out the original 1981 Concorde Agreement, the document that defines
Formula 1’s commercial protocols, 10 of 15 grands prix were based in Europe. In 2013, just seven
of the 19 races were located in F1’s old heartland, with non-traditional markets now dominating.
KEY: EUROPEAN NON EUROPEAN USA