F1's race hosting income not "sustainable" - Wolff

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes that Formula 1's new management will find it increasingly hard to maintain the levels of income that the sport has thus far received from race hosting fees.

F1's race hosting income not "sustainable" - Wolff
Overview of proposed F1 circuit area in Miami
Overview of proposed F1 circuit area in Miami
 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33 Renault, Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11 Mercedes
Start: Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Red Bull lead
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13

The new event in Miami will not be based on the traditional model of a promoter paying a large fee that escalates in future years, but will instead be run with a revenue and risk sharing model, with F1 in effect taking a share of gate and hospitality income.

That development has encouraged several promoters to seek improved deals in the future, with Hockenheim and Baku among the first to make their cases in public - while others have been in discussion behind closed doors, notably Silverstone.

The obvious concern for the teams is that if race fees drop, then F1’s overall revenue, and hence their share of profits, will fall in the years to come.

Wolff acknowledged that it won’t be easy to repeat the sort of deals that Bernie Ecclestone was traditionally able to conclude.

“Sanction fees were one of the three key revenue generators in the old Bernie F1 business model,” he said. “And he was exceptional at these deals.

“I’m not sure it’s sustainable. And it is clear when there is a change of regime that people will and promoters will try to negotiate and restructure the business model.

"Bernie was squeezing the last cent out for the benefit of the shareholders and the teams, but it left certain promoters in a very difficult economical situation.”

However, Wolff insists that the sport can continue to earn elsewhere.

“I have confidence in the current management team that they will take the right decisions and find the right agreements with promoters, sign new race tracks. I think Miami is very exciting," he added.

“But it is also clear that maybe that one pillar is going to be difficult to maintain on the levels that we have seen before.

"We have to grow in other areas, we have to grow broadcast deals, and digital revenue, and monetize alternative revenue streams.”

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