Budgets approaching €2 million
October 27, 2010 4 Comments
Several drivers and agents have commented to GP2insider that teams are quoting them €2 million to compete in the 2010-11 GP2 Asia and 2011 GP2 Series seasons. Though few teams will be able to request, and actually charge, these exorbitant amounts, it is very indicative of the changes brought on even as the 2010 season is yet to complete its final race in a few weeks.
First, the price (even if not “real”) represents a 33%-plus premium on what we estimated was 2010’s highest cost per seat (€1.5 million – ART). If we assume the whole GP2 Asia 2009-2010 cost Bird/Bianchi around €200k, it’s still almost a 30% price hike from last season.
First, the new car changes the rules for the teams and the drivers. A new chassis, after a barely amortized 2008 one, will hurt the teams financially. As you can imagine, the cost will not be absorbed by the teams, but as much as possible by the drivers and their supporters.
Second, this will probably be the most appealing GP2 Asia season ever for the drivers, as the new car will be used for the first time in this category and not in Europe. Drivers will be very keen to get some racing time in this new car, as well as those nice F1-spec Pirelli tires.
Curiously, the arrival of 2 potentially competitive teams such as Carlin and Air Asia has had the inverse effect on prices. With more supply, we should see falling prices, yet prices have gone up.
Now, looking at GP2 as a whole, how many drivers will end up paying this mind-boggling budget to race these shiny new Dallaras? Probably 6-8 drivers, I assume, the same proportion who always had the budget to comfortably race in this category, even if with a midfield team.
My guess is teams will milk the shortened GP2 Asia season for all it’s worth, then fight it out to find drivers with deep enough pockets to survive an uncertain 2011 season in Europe.