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Never mind its race performance, even Ferrari's bills aren't on time

NEWS STORY
14/05/2011

Ferrari has certainly not had the start to the season that it expected. After four races Fernando Alonso lies in fifth place far off the pace of Sebastian Vettel. Furthermore, according to a report in the Express by Pitpass' business editor Chris Sylt, Ferrari is also struggling to keep up with its rivals off track.

The report is based on data produced by business intelligence firm Dun & Bradstreet which ranks F1 teams by the length of time it takes them to settle their bills. The longer it takes a company to settle its bills, the higher the likelihood that it could have a cashflow problem.

According to the research, over the period from November 2010 until March this year Team Lotus was the slowest to pay its bills, at 20 days overdue on average (see table below). It is followed by Ferrari which has F1's biggest sponsorship budget this year estimated at 134m by F1's trade guide Formula Money. Ferrari pays its bills 19 days late with the team owned by rival manufacturer Mercedes settling up four days faster.

In light of Ferrari's poor payment speed it is extremely ironic that the 'Horse Whisperer' section of the team's website recently proudly criticised reports from the UK which it claimed are "always ready to point the finger at Maranello as the biggest spenders."

Dun & Bradstreet's data shows that ten of the twelve F1 teams pay their bills late and three of the five slowest have backing from car manufacturers. It indicates that even though the economic climate has improved it may still not be sustainable for car manufacturers to invest shareholders' money in F1.

Lotus Renault GP keeps creditors waiting 14 days and Virgin Racing, which has backing from billionaire Sir Richard Branson and Russian sportscar manufacturer Marussia, pays its bills eight days late.

The only two teams which pay their bills on or before they are due are Switzerland's Sauber and Red Bull Racing which leads this year's standings and won the 2010 championship. Both outfits are entirely privately funded and Red Bull, the energy drinks company, which owns its eponymous team, invested 107m during 2009 to develop last year's winning car.

F1 Teams' Bill Payment Speed

Team Number of days
bills paid late
(Dec 2009 - Apr 2010)
Number of days
bills paid late
(Apr 2010 - Nov 2010)
Difference
Team Lotus 20  
Ferrari 19  
McLaren 17  
Mercedes 15  
Lotus Renault GP 14  
Force India 12  
Virgin 8  
Williams 3  
Red Bull 1  
Toro Rosso 0  
Sauber 17 before  
Hispania No Date  

Source: Dun&Bradstreet F1 Paydex

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