Money has always played a major factor in motorsport but, if you had an abundance of it, how could you buy your way into Formula 1?
The idea of buying your way into Formula 1 is nothing new. In fact, it is actually welcomed by many lower-ranking teams in Formula 1. This is because they get a guarantee of annual funding from drivers who pay good money to be there, and it has been done numerous times in the past before. Drivers who bought their way into Formula 1 include Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher, Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll, Pastor Maldonado and others.
However, just because you've got the cash, doesn't mean you could therefore guarantee yourself a spot in Formula 1 just because you feel like it. You, unfortunately, have had to still prove you can drive exceptionally well. Most drivers start professional FIA regulated karting from around the age of 5 or so, and this doesn't come cheap either!
Beginning your racing career in karting costs around $40,000 to $50,000 per year until you're ready to take on the next level. Senior level karting costs between $80,000 and $100,000 per year, and usually, you'd only be around 10 years old at this point!
A few years later, you start in Formula 4, where you can expect to pay around $125,000 per year and, in more recent times, that number has been capped – previously you could pay far more. However, these are by no means all the costs involved, this price excludes international travel and accommodation costs.
Thereafter, you'll spend the next five years or more moving up the ranks through Formula 3 and Formula 2, with each progression costing more and more, all in the hopes to get noticed by a Formula1 team!
However, Formula 1 teams usually look for a Formula 2 driver after having no luck finding a current Formula 1 driver who shows promise and is looking to switch teams.
If you show great talent and potential, but didn't quite dominate in Formula 2, you might never have the chance at Formula 1. That is if you don't have a couple of extra millions in your back pocket!
Buying your way into Formula 1 is by no means a bribe. Each Formula 1 team is a business in their own right, and if you are able to drop a good lump sum into the deal to guarantee you a drive in Formula 1, you might just be taken seriously!
However, if you continue to fail once have bought your way in, you will inevitably be replaced, then a butterfly effect will trigger the loss of sponsorship deals and, in turn, the race team could potentially become bankrupt.
So even though it's possible to buy your way into Formula 1, you have to still be a damn good racing driver!
Take a look at the video below by the YouTube channel, Donut Media, on How to buy your way into Formula 1.
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