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F1 financial numbers continue to improve after disastrous 2020

Formula 1 has released much improved financial numbers for the first quarter of 2021, reflecting the organisation's continued recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out its income early last season.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and the rest of the field at the start

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and the rest of the field at the start

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Primary revenue rose from just $17m for January to March in 2020 to $159m for the same period this year, while total revenue was up from $39m to $180m.

An operating loss of $137m for the first quarter last year was turned into a $33m loss for this year.

The numbers reflect that no races were held in the first three months of 2020, following the last-minute cancellation of the Australian GP, whereas this year the quarter featured the Bahrain season opener and its associated income.

The teams also jointly received $44m for the quarter this year, when there were no payments in 2020.

In addition, the numbers have been impacted because F1 has reclassified some of its revenue streams, with certain elements moving from 'other' to 'primary' revenue.

The latter comprises race-hosting fees, sponsorship, and what F1 now calls media rights, and which was previously known as broadcasting revenue.

In explaining the changes, Liberty Media noted: "During the three months ended March 31 2021, F1 began reclassifying certain components previously reported in other F1 revenue into primary F1 revenue to better align with the way it currently evaluates the business.

"The more significant components that were reclassified into primary F1 revenue include fees for F1 TV subscriptions, fees for licensing commercial rights for Formula 2 and Formula 3 races, fees for the origination and support of programme footage, fees for broadcast rights for Formula 2 and Formula 3 races, and fees for advertising rights on Formula 1's digital platforms.

Bahrain F1 start

Bahrain F1 start

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"Following the reclassification, other F1 revenue is primarily comprised of freight and hospitality revenue."

In explaining the increase in its 2021 revenue, F1 also revealed a one-off payment which is believed to relate the cancellation of the Vietnamese GP.

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Liberty noted: "Primary F1 revenue increased in the first quarter with growth in race promotion, media rights and sponsorship fees.

"This was primarily due to the recognition of race specific and season-based income with one race held in the first quarter of 2021 compared to no races in the prior year period.

"In addition, race promotion revenue in the first quarter of 2021 included proceeds from a one-time settlement related to the cancellation of a race originally scheduled to commence in 2020.

"Media rights fees also benefited from growth in F1 TV subscription revenue."

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