F1 posts $68m loss despite increased revenues in 2018

The Formula 1 Group has posted a loss for the second year in a row according to the latest financial report issued by parent company Liberty Media.

Although revenues increased by $44 million (£33m) to total $1,827m (£1,373) for the 2018 period, the group made an overall loss of $68m (£51m), nearly double the $37m (£27.8m) loss recorded for 2017.

Only a small part of the revenue increase – just $6m – came from so-called "primary F1 revenue", which accounts for race promotion fees, broadcasting fees, advertising and sponsorship fees.

The remaining $38m came from "other revenue", including "logistics revenue, digital media and TV production related revenue, increased revenue from various fan engagement activities and higher spare part sales for the F2 and GP3 support series".

Although 2018 held one more than race than 2017 – 21 races in total – the addition of France and Germany didn't cover the loss of the high-fee paying Malaysian Grand Prix, which axed its deal to host a race due to waning interest.

"Race promotion revenue in 2018 was impacted by the calendar variance, with the non-occurrence of the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2018 not fully offset by the return of two European races in France and Germany," the statement explained.

Broadcast revenue was "essentially flat" and income from sponsorship actually fell slightly, contributing to the overall loss, as did bad debts associated with two commercial partners.

The amount distributed to teams via the prize money structure also fell again, from $966m in 2016 to $919m in 2017 and $913m in 2018.

Despite the news, Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey said the sport was in a strong position heading into the 2019 season with viewership on the rise.

"We have made significant investments in the business over the last two years which are showing results through increased fan engagement across race attendance and all media platforms. This provides tremendous momentum as we enter 2019," he said.

"During the off-season to date, we extended the race contract in Azerbaijan, renewed a broadcast agreement with Sky Deutschland, and signed up additional sponsors, among other things.

"Our F1 TV platform has added exclusive content to the platform, with live pre-season testing followed by a daily review show, and a new F1 produced documentary on Michael Schumacher.

"Further regarding content, we are excited for the launch of the F1 Netflix series ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ on March 8."