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F1's second quarter income hit by Imola GP cancellation

The cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix had a negative impact on Formula 1’s financial numbers for the second quarter of 2023.

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Overall numbers for the full season are expected to be higher than last season, with 22 races held in both years, and the more lucrative Las Vegas race in effect replacing the French GP.

However, the loss of the Imola race due to local flooding meant that only six events were held in the April-June period, instead of seven as was originally scheduled, and as was the case in 2022.

The significance is that race promotion revenue is recorded in the quarter that an event takes place, and media rights and sponsorship revenue is split pro rota across the four quarters depending on how many races there are during the period.

As a result, F1’s revenue for the second quarter dropped from $744m in 2022 to $724m, with a drop of $10m in primary revenue (race fees, media rights and sponsorship) and another $10m lost in other revenue streams.

The payments to the 10 teams for the period similarly fell from $368m to $344m, while after those and other costs were taken onto account F1 profits increased slightly from $49m to $52m.

The biggest negative impact of the Imola cancellation related to how media rights revenue is recognised, with the drop from seven to six events out of 22. The total for race promotion was actually higher, despite there only being six rather than seven races, due to increased contractual fees across the other events.

Greg Maffei, F1 on the grid

Greg Maffei, F1 on the grid

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Liberty added that other revenue "decreased in the second quarter primarily due to lower freight income driven by the easing of freight cost inflation on billing rates and lower hospitality revenue due to one less race held in the current period, partially offset by increased licensing income and higher revenue related to F2/F3 car chassis sales.”

Liberty also noted F1's overall costs increased in part because of expenditure related to the lost Imola race.

It noted that "significantly lower freight costs were offset by increased hospitality costs associated with servicing higher Paddock Club attendance and cost inflation and higher commissions and partner servicing costs associated with growth in primary F1 revenue streams.

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“Other cost of F1 revenue in the current period also includes hospitality, travel and other costs related to the Imola event that had largely been incurred prior to the event’s late cancellation.

“Selling, general and administrative expense decreased in the second quarter due to lower personnel and legal costs and foreign exchange favourability, partially offset by higher marketing, property and IT costs."

Liberty also revealed that F1 spent $7m in April-June on costs associated with the planning of the Las Vegas GP.

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