F2 boss cautious after increased interest: 'It could be a cycle'

F2 boss cautious after increased interest: 'It could be a cycle'

21-02-2023 16:49


Formula 1's popularity is growing worldwide, and in its wake, the supporting classes are trying to get a piece of the pie. Interest in Formula 2 and Formula 3 is also growing, but this certainly does not mean that the teams in these series are running out of money.

Little is known about the exact cost of running a Formula 2 team. Around four to five million dollars a year is a common estimate. Much of the budget is raised by the drivers and their sponsors. Indeed, the 'pay driver' phenomenon is still completely normal in the junior classes. The money earned by the F2 and F3 as a series through their alliance with Formula 1 is mostly used for logistics.

Logistics costs reimbursed

For instance, the organisation provides and pays for the transport of all gear and team personnel to races that require aircraft. Within Europe, the teams drive their own trucks to the circuits, but for Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and, as of this season, Melbourne, for instance, an expensive flight is unavoidable.

Moreover, Bruno Michel (CEO of F2 and F3) responded during a press interview to a question from GPblog, his organisation compensates the teams for the costs incurred by the ever-expanding calendar: "It makes the seasons much more attractive and also because there are more races the drivers like that and we race on interesting tracks that are good for their experience."

Taking advantage of the trend

Formula 2 and Formula 3 races have been increasingly visible to the general public in recent years. Moreover, more and more talent is breaking through, for whom there is not even always room in Formula 1. "Yes, we are taking advantage of the general trend that motor racing is having. F1 is having a level of revenue that is no comparison to what F2 and F3 are having. We still have to be quite careful."

Michel has been around for quite a few years. He knows that current interest may wane at some point. "We have seen that in the past because we have been in the business for a long time", the CEO says. "It can be a cycle. We have some absolutely fantastic years then some more years that are difficult. We have to be careful to try to keep the costs as low as possible. For the teams, finding drivers with proper budgets or finding sponsors it’s easier than in the past but let’s still be cautious."

Big gap

Formula 3 returns to Monaco this season for the first time since 2012 (under the name GP3 at the time). So both F3 and F2 are also guests in Melbourne for the first time. A full schedule awaits the drivers, although the F2 season notices a sizeable gap in the schedule. There are almost three months between the penultimate round (in Italy) and the concluding race weekend in Abu Dhabi. " I'm not happy with that [gap]," says Michel. "Because either we have a winner three months before the end of the season, or everyone forgets what is at stake for the last race. It’s not good and it’s what we had last year."

"We are looking at different possibilities to try to get some races in the middle", said the CEO, who knows that between Monza and Abu Dhabi, Formula 1 will host the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. "But that is coming into the cost equation that we were talking about. We have 5 flyaways already in F2. We want to be careful not to add up too many of them. Not only a question of freight and tickets but also logistics. More expensive to do that for flyaways. We are looking about how we can do that. It will depend on how the F1 calendar will look for 2024, so we can try to avoid such a long time. It’s not good and we are not happy about it.