David Schumacher and Co .: When a career in Formula 1 is no longer affordable

Updated on 29.04.2022 at 11:20

  • David Schumacher did not get a cab in Formula 2 for 2022, so he is trying his hand at DTM.
  • The general problem: talented people have to raise more than ten million euros to fund booths.
  • A solution to the problem is not on the horizon in the short term.

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David Schumacher thinks for a moment. He then names the amount that talented people should put on the table for a Formula 1 career. It’s hard, his father Ralph had calculated the costs very roughly. “With karting, Formula 4, two years of Formula 3 and Formula 2, you need about twelve or 13 million euros,” says David Schumacher of our editorial team. “Just one season of the card goes to 350,000 euros with a good team.” Kart – the career of a racing driver has just begun.

So sponsors are needed. Schumacher himself faced promotion to Formula 2 in 2022 and would have to raise around 2.5 million euros for a cabin with a senior team. A midfield racing team is cheaper, but the bottom line is money wasted. Because the necessary successes are missing. Schumacher did not get the “small course” needed for Formula 2, the money apparently is not as cheap as it once was, not even with such a famous name. “Formula women are no longer financially viable, you can hardly find sponsors. In my opinion, it has become virtually impossible,” says Schumacher.

The plate is the prime example

A prime example from the current Formula 1 shows the dilemma: Australian Oscar Piastri, who won Formula 3 and Formula 2 immediately, is just a reserve pilot for the alpine racing team this season, for which there is still no place in the premiere. class. For Chinese Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo, a sponsorship package worth millions was the ticket. The situation is as sad as it is dangerous for talented people: if there are no sponsors or if you are not in the talent group of a Formula 1 team, your career could end quickly. Young German Lirim Zendeli had to stop in 2021 for financial reasons in the middle of the Formula 2 season, he has not returned.

Piastre’s example shows that Formula 1 has its difficulties and something needs to change, “otherwise we will have a problem in the future. Youth classes are very expensive,” Ralf Schumacher told Sky. His suggestion: “Formula 1 – Liberty Media and the FIA ​​- is responsible for setting up new teams and funding them from the community box. With the success of Formula 1, it can not be so difficult to give them the opportunity young talents. “

Formula 1 support?

His son thinks in a similar direction. “Formula 1 teams or Formula 1 itself can support Formula 2 and Formula 3 teams,” Schumacher said. “To get a fixed budget, 300,000 to 500,000 euros, which the driver keeps on his own or with outside sponsors. You can manage the amount, everything on it is too much.” A support program like the ADAC Sports Foundation is a good solution, especially for karting, according to Schumacher, “but the budget is not enough for one-place races”.

Therefore, in 2022, David Schumacher will take a detour through DTM, which will start his new season this weekend in Portimao. Then the 20-year-old will not be driving a formula, but driving a GT3, with a Mercedes-AMG GT3. DTM chief Gerhard Berger thinks his series could still serve as a stepping stone. “It’s certainly easier when you’re a Formula 2 champion,” Berger told our editorial team, “but DTM is the next best chance to stay on the radar.”

When Schumacher delivers. This is certainly a prerequisite. As a beginner, Schumacher needs some time to get used to the environment, Berger says, “but if he asserts himself, running Formula 1 is not out of the question.”

Vettel also needed financial support

However, the former Formula 1 driver Berger reveals that some talents make it very easy for themselves from time to time with the argument “that money is the reason why you do not move forward”. Jos Verstappen brought his son Max to where he is today “with a lot of passion and expertise”. And, according to Berger, “Sebastian Vettel also mounted his card with his dad at the kitchen table and became a four-time world champion.”

It was not 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 was able to manage its first half-time karting season alone. “And then we were very lucky to find people supporting us.”

The world has changed

The world has changed since then, just because of sponsorship. “And the willingness to invest money in young children and motorsport has probably changed as well,” Vettel said. Vettel does not believe in a quick fix, “but there are some things that can be done to make the sport more accessible to all kinds of backgrounds and all children.” What could it be, he left open.

Motor sport has always been an expensive hobby, the 34-year-old knows, “but it has certainly gotten out of control in recent years and has become very expensive.” Berger believes that drivers pass “if they have the right talent and luck and show that they are really good”. But the fact is: Many talents are still prematurely slowed down by money on the way to the top.

Resources used:

  • Sky TV broadcast
  • press conference

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