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F1 enjoys improved financial results for first quarter of 2021

NEWS STORY
08/05/2021

F1 records improved financial results in the first quarter of 2021 as the sport begins to show signs of recovery following the nightmare of a COVID compromised 2020.

Due to the pandemic, last year the season didn't get underway until July, while this year the season got underway in March.

This, in part, accounts for the fact that an operating loss of $137m (£98m) in the first quarter of 2020 shrinks to a loss of just $33m (£23.6m) between January and March this year.

F1 also began reclassifying certain components previously reported in Other F1 revenue into Primary F1 revenue to better align with the way it currently evaluates the business. In addition, broadcasting revenue was renamed media rights revenue.

The more significant components that were reclassified into Primary F1 revenue include fees for F1 TV subscriptions, fees for licensing commercial rights for Formula 2 and Formula 3 races, fees for the origination and support of program footage, fees for broadcast rights for Formula 2 and Formula 3 races and fees for advertising rights on Formula 1's digital platforms.

Following the reclassification, Other F1 revenue is primarily comprised of freight and hospitality revenue. $4m (£2.8m) of Other F1 revenue was reclassified as Primary F1 revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2020 to conform to the current period presentation.

Primary F1 revenue increased in the first quarter with growth in race promotion, media rights and sponsorship fees. This was primarily due to the recognition of race specific and season-based income with one race held in the first quarter of 2021 compared to no races in the prior year period.

In addition, race promotion revenue in the first quarter of 2021 included proceeds from a one-time settlement related to the cancellation of a race originally scheduled to commence in 2020.

It's believed that this relates to the cancellation of the Vietnam Grand Prix, the cancellation fee for which, we understand, was actually higher than the race hosting fee would have been.

Media rights fees also benefited from growth in F1 TV subscription revenue.

Other F1 revenue decreased in the first quarter due to lower freight and logistics revenue, partially offset by higher licensing income. Freight and logistics services were provided in 2020 for the Australia Grand Prix, despite the ultimate cancellation of the race, and the associated revenue in 2020 was higher than the freight and logistics revenue associated with the Bahrain Grand Prix held in the first quarter of 2021.

Operating loss decreased and adjusted OIBDA increased in the first quarter. Cost of F1 revenue increased primarily due to the recognition of team payments in the first quarter, as such payments are recognized pro rata with the race calendar and no races were held in the prior year period.

This meant that while there were no team payments in the first quarter of 2020, this year the teams were paid $44m (£31.4m) for the first quarter.

Other cost of F1 revenue is largely variable in nature and mostly relates to revenue opportunities. These costs decreased modestly in the first quarter driven by lower freight and digital media product development costs, partially offset by the proportionate recognition of a full year of FIA fees, higher technical costs and elevated event costs driven by ongoing COVID-related protocols.

Selling, general and administrative expense increased due to higher personnel cost as no bonus was accrued in the prior year period.

Total revenue in the first quarter of 2020 was $39m (£28m) compared to $180m (£129m) for corresponding period this year. At the same time, primary revenue was up 835% to $159m (£114m) compared to $17m (£12m) in 2020.

"The competition on the track has been fierce and sets Formula 1 up for an exciting season," said Stefano Domenicali. “We are thrilled to welcome Miami to the calendar in 2022, which will attract fans from across the Americas.

"Additionally, we extended our agreements to race in Japan and Canada, furthering our commitment to grow F1 in these regions. Drive to Survive continues to grow in popularity and we welcome the engagement with new fans."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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