Sebastian Vettel pounded his steering wheel, having crashed out at Hockenheim. Swearing and crying over the team radio, he had made a mistake driving in the rain and handed the win to Lewis Hamilton.
The cost of the steering wheel paled in comparison to losing in front of his home crowd and losing the top spot in the F1 Drivers’ Championship. What if he had to worry about costs, though? Here we take a brief look at the costs of some of the key parts.
A steering wheel costs a cool £50,000. As we see on the driver camera view, there is a screen in the middle and a bunch of colour-coded buttons for DRS activation, ERS (boost) and regular functions like changing gear.
Sensors record hundreds of parameters, such as clutch torque, in real time. The data is transmitted to the race engineers for rapid decision-making. The cars have on-board computers; the telemetry software alone is worth around £74,000.
Sensors, wiring and electronics are fitted around the engine for aerodynamics. The engine’s internal temperature can reach a staggering 1000 degrees, so all components must be military grade.
F1 races are held every one or two weeks, giving the teams a short time window for changes. Carbon fibre body parts are designed and cut with specialist machines in order to tweak performance.
Daniel Ricciardo celebrated his win at Monaco with a “shoey” – drinking champagne from his racing boot. The Puma boots cost a mere £77 – less than the champagne! Fortunately, there is no shortage of drinks in the F1 Hospitality Monaco bar at https://edgeglobalevents.com/f1-hospitality/f1-hospitality-monaco/
F1 cost cap
Liberty Media, the F1 commercial rights owner, is considering a cap on F1 teams from 2021, to make racing closer and cars simpler. The cap would be $150m, about half of what teams like Mercedes spend currently. Team bosses’ responses are quoted in the BBC.
A typical F1 car costs around £6m total. At £3.5m, over half of this is the engine cost, and teams are allowed five for the season. Clearly this is prohibitive to the smaller teams. Liberty Media’s attempt to level the field may result in more teams being in the running for podiums, but that has to be balanced with the sheer entertainment value of Vettel vs Hamilton.