David Schumacher & Co: When the Formula 1 career is no longer affordable

Updated on 04/29/2022 at 11:20 AM

  • David Schumacher didn’t get into the Formula 2 cockpit for 2022, so he’s trying to train him in the DTM.
  • General problem: talented people must raise more than ten million euros to fund the cockpit.
  • The solution to the problem is not in sight in the short term.

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David Schumacher thinks for a moment. Then he calls how much talented people have to put on the table for a career in Formula 1. It’s hard, his father Ralph roughly calculated the costs. “With karting and Formula 4 and two years of Formula 3 and Formula 2, you need about twelve or 13 million euros,” David Schumacher tells our editorial team. “A single kart season alone reaches 350 thousand euros with a good team.” Kart – The racing driver’s career is just beginning.

So sponsors are needed. Schumacher himself faced promotion to Formula 2 in 2022 and would have had to raise around €2.5 million for a cockpit with a big team. The midfield racing team is cheaper, but the bottom line is burnt money. Because the necessary successes are missing. Schumacher didn’t get the necessary “small change” to Formula 2, the money apparently isn’t as loose as it once was, not even with that famous name. “Formula racing is no longer viable financially, and you can hardly find sponsors. In my opinion, it has become practically impossible,” says Schumacher.

Biastery is the prime example

A notable example from the current Formula 1 illustrates the dilemma: Australian Oscar Piastre, who won both Formula 3 and Formula 2 on the spot, is only a reserve driver for the Alpine racing team this season, for whom there is still a place in the premiere class. For China’s Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo, the multimillion-dollar sponsor’s package was the ticket. The situation is as sad as it is dangerous for the talented: if there are no sponsors or if you are not in the talent pool of a Formula 1 team, your career can quickly come to a halt. Young German Lirim Zendeli had to stop in 2021 for financial reasons mid-season in Formula 2, and hasn’t come back.

The Piastri example shows that Formula 1 is experiencing difficulties and something has to change, “Otherwise we will have a problem in the future. Beginner classes are very expensive,” Ralf Schumacher said on Sky. His suggestion: “Formula 1 – Liberty Media and the FIA ​​- is responsible for shaping the youth teams and financing them from the local community. With the success of Formula 1, it can’t be difficult to give young talent a chance.”

Support from Formula 1?

His son is also thinking in the same direction. “Formula 1 teams or Formula 1 itself can support Formula 2 and Formula 3 teams,” Schumacher said. “To have a fixed budget, 300,000 to 500,000 euros, which is supported by the driver himself or by sponsors from abroad. You can manage the amount, all very much more than that.” A support program such as the ADAC Sports Foundation is a good solution, especially for karting, according to Schumacher, “but the budget is not enough for single-seat racing”.

In 2022, David Schumacher will take a turn via the DTM, which begins his new season this weekend in Portimao. Then the 20-year-old would not be in a formula car, but in a GT3, in a Mercedes-AMG GT3. Gerhard Berger, president of DTM, believes his series could serve as a springboard. “Of course it’s easier when you’re a Formula 2 champion, but DTM is your second best chance of staying on the radar,” Berger told the editorial team.

When Schumacher delivers. This of course is a prerequisite. As a rookie, Schumacher needs a little time to get used to the environment, says Berger, “but if he asserts himself, the F1 direction will not be ruled out”.

Vettel also needed financial support

However, former Formula 1 driver Berger finds that some talents make it too easy on themselves from time to time arguing that “money is the reason not to move forward”. Jos Verstappen brought his son Max to what he is today “with a lot of passion and experience”. According to Berger, “Sebastian Vettel also assembled his carriage with his dad on the kitchen table and became the four-time world champion.”

It wasn’t as romantic as Vettel himself revealed last year. “When I started, the costs were lower, but they were still high. I know I was very lucky,” said Vettel, whose family managed their first karting season halfway through on their own, “and then we were lucky to find people to support us.”

The world has changed

The world has changed since then, just because of the care. “The desire to invest money in young children and motorsport has probably changed,” Vettel said. Vettel doesn’t believe in a quick fix, “but there are certain things that can be done to make the sport accessible to all kinds of backgrounds and all children.” What could it be, left open.

Motorsports has always been an expensive hobby, the 34-year-old knows, “but it has definitely gotten out of hand in recent years and has become very expensive.” Berger believes drivers get through it “if they have the right talent and luck and show they’re really good.” But the truth is that many talents are still slowing down prematurely because of money on their way to the top.

Sources used:

  • Sky TV broadcast
  • Press Conference

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