Mercedes has hired ‘financial engineers’ to audit the price of F1 car parts

The Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team has hired auditors, or “financial engineers”, to track the cost of every part fitted to the team’s cars.

In an interview with Sports car, Team principal Toto Wolff has mentioned specialist personnel in relation to F1’s new budget cap. Like most big team principals, Wolff believes the cap limits former big spenders like Mercedes. Previously able to spend $459 million to capture the championship in 2020, the same team now has to do so with around $140 million in 2022, with some extras added to account for inflation. As a result, Mercedes now notes the dollar value of every little bit of the car as it is used.

“We have a tracker with financial engineers tracking every process and every part that goes into the car,” Wolff told Sports car. “So when we take things out of the truck, notes the financial engineer, the value – when you use it is taken into account.”

George Russell in the Mercedes-AMG F1 W13 at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix. Jiri Krenek via Mercedes-AMG F1

Hypothetically, this gives Mercedes the ability to calculate the exact dollar value of its 2022 competitor, the W13; a figure that has historically been difficult to calculate due to development costs often rolled into part costs. Various recent estimates have therefore placed the cost of a single F1 car from $12.2m to well over $20m, although their actual prices will vary between teams, and even on the same car as time goes by. as parts develop and change.

It’s also highly unlikely that the teams themselves didn’t know the approximate values ​​of their cars before the budget cap, as that’s something they would need to know anyway. Although budgets may have been larger in the past, sponsors’ checks have generally not been blank, and insuring a car while in transit would also require knowing its value. Either way, it’s probably not a number you or I will ever know, as F1 teams won’t want to give their rivals any clues as to their strengths or weaknesses, both on the track and in the development labs.

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