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Formula One financials continue upward curve

The Formula One motor-racing series has registered a rise by more than a third in its pre-tax profits for 2014, while revenues also increased by 3.2 per cent, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Profits rose year-on-year from $284.6m (€256.9m) to $394.1m, while revenue reached a record mark of $1.8bn. The UK newspaper said these figures were aided by the addition of new races in Austria and Russia to the 2014 calendar, replacing less lucrative events in India and South Korea.

Austria and Russia are said to pay a combined annual hosting fee of $62m compared to the $46m paid by the Asian countries, with F1 also enjoying related boosts in its other three core revenue streams of broadcast fees, corporate hospitality and advertising and sponsorship.

Together, fees from race hosting and broadcasting made up $1.2bn of Formula One’s total revenue. Meanwhile, F1’s corporate hospitality arm, the Paddock Club, saw its revenue grow by 4.9 per cent to $110.9m last year.

Formula One’s teams are set to benefit from the figures, with their prize money comprising 63 per cent of the sport’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). F1’s total costs increased by 5.2 per cent to $1.2bn last year, while EBITDA and prize money rose by 8.2 per cent to $863.1m.

Reports of Formula One’s strong financial position come as the embattled Lotus team prepare to face another High Court hearing after warding off the threat of administration. The Telegraph said Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had applied before Mr Justice Birss to have Lotus put into administration in London yesterday (Monday), but the case was adjourned until September 18, the opening day of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

Renault is currently in talks to buy Lotus. The French automotive manufacturer is believed to have offered £60m (€82.3m/$92.2m) for a 65-per-cent stake but is yet to conclude a deal. Renault has strong ties to the team having originally sold its majority stake in the outfit to private equity firm Genii Capital in 2010. Renault has endured a difficult season as engine supplier to Red Bull Racing and is currently exploring its future in F1, including a return to manufacturer status through a deal for Lotus.