Formula 1, the prestigious motor racing series owned by US media giant Liberty, secured revenue during the third quarter of 2021 of $668 million, up 12 per cent year-on-year as the return of fans after a coronavirus-hit 2020 boosted the series’ income.

The Formula One Group secured profits during the quarter of $68 million, a significant improvement from the equivalent period last year, in which the property lost $115 million. These results were unveiled during Liberty’s overall Q3 financial report, issued earlier today.

During Q3 2020, total F1 revenue only came to $597 million, as despite 10 races being held during that period (as opposed to seven during Q3 2021), almost no revenue from ticket sales was generated with most Grands Prix being held behind closed doors because of Covid-related restrictions.

Primary revenue during Q3 2021 – comprising race promotion revenue, media rights fees, and sponsorship income – amounted to $612 million, up from $558 million in 2020 mainly due to growth in the amounts which race promoters could pay to host events.

These event organisers paid significantly less per race last season, given that the absence of live audiences reduced the value of each Grand Prix.

This increase compensated for the drop in media rights and sponsorship during Q3 this year, which was caused by “the impact of lower proportionate recognition of season-based income”, with seven races taking place during those three months, down from 10 during the same period last year (when races were squeezed in to make up for the time lost earlier in 2020 when the pandemic was at its peak).

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Meanwhile, F1 TV (the series’ own over-the-top subscription services) saw its viewing figures climb, and there was an increase in revenue from new commercial partners.

The Paddock Club, F1’s exclusive hospitality package, has also returned in 2021, re-introducing a source of income not available last year.

In terms of outgoings, team payments to the 10 outfits competing in the series amounted to $338 million during the last quarter, down 23 per cent from $441 million during the third quarter of 2020.

In Q3 last year, one-off fees were paid to teams in order to help them alleviate the financial effects of the pandemic, as well as similarly one-time payments made after the new Comcorde Agreement (the deal between F1 and its component teams), was signed.

Total costs during Q3 2021 amounted to $449 million, down from $551 million the year before.

Stefano Domenicali, F1’s president and chief executive, said: “Formula 1 is firing on all cylinders and producing results on the track, for our fans and partners and our investors … We have seen the results with fans at the track and with engagement across all platforms.

“We look forward to the next races in Mexico and Brazil before concluding the season with three races in the Middle East, which will complete a record 22-race calendar in 2021, and we are already focused on setting a new record in 2022 with our 23-race calendar.”

During the quarter, F1 struck a 10-year deal to host an annual race in Qatar from 2023 onwards; announced a 23-race 2022 season; secured multiple new broadcast deals with partners in Asia; and broke records for the most attended race-weekend in history, with the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, between 21 and 24 October, bringing in a live audience of around 400,000.

The series also extended its relationship with French broadcaster Canal Plus for two years until 2024.

Overall, Liberty secured revenue during Q3 2021 of $3.1 billion.