F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupid."

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munudeges
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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by munudeges » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:24 pm

I did tell a few esteemed members of this forum to go and read Dieter Rencken, but alas a few do not seem to be able to read English. I will help out, and he's even more pessimistic than I ever thought the situation was. I have bolded the really relevant bits just in case anyone is still having difficulty, but I've almost ended up bolding all of it:
Dieter Rencken wrote:Where 2009 negotiations had been on a (FOTA) group basis, FOM CEO Bernie Ecclestone shrewdly managed to divide the teams into two distinct groups – and it can be no coincidence that Ferrari and Red Bull managed to grab the largest teams' shares of F1's billion-dollar revenues through to 2020 for themselves...

It is this inequitable revenue distribution structure – which provides for an almost 1000 per cent difference between the top and bottom payouts over the 11-team spread – that lies at the root of the abyss the majority of teams are staring into.

By way of contrast, consider that in England's 2012/13 (football) Premier League the 20th-placed team (Queens Park Rangers) earned 60 per cent of that banked by championship-winning squad Manchester United.

Using the Premier League structure as a basis for F1's revenue structure and assuming the top team receives around £60m, it would mean the 11th-placed outfit pocketed £35m. Instead it receives a paltry £8m, and then only after a year-long campaign mounted by (mainly FOTA) teams.

Equally significantly, the shared Premier League 'pot' for the 2012/13 season amounted to almost £1 billion, whereas F1's 11 teams are fortunate if they currently carve up half that despite F1's revenues running at similar levels – providing ample proof of how much FOM retains, with most flowing to majority owner CVC Capital Partners.

By the same token, FOM could stand accused of not maximising revenues: if, after all, a domestic football cup played on an island with a population of 60 million turns over more in nine months than does the world's (alleged) largest annual sporting block during the same period, somebody somewhere is clearly not delivering to full potential...
Formula 1 is a financial and commercial ghetto, end of story.
Last edited by munudeges on Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by dans79 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:25 pm

GitanesBlondes wrote:
It's at work in NASCAR to use the best example of exposure in motorsport. I cannot think of the Lowe's home improvement store without thinking of Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Chevrolet. The opposite holds true - if I see Jimmie Johnson, I immediately think of his Lowe's sponsored #48 Chevrolet.

NASCAR does an incredible job of exposing sponsors to the public, which is something F1 has not done well in a very, very long time.

Of course NASCAR also has relevant sponsors that the average fan can have a use for. What relevancy do the majority of F1 sponsors have these days? None. They are companies/products in many cases aimed for the nouveau rich...you know the small segment of people who F1/Ecclestone seem to focus the most on, instead of the average fan that is far greater than the 1%.
I think this is the biggest part of it.

check out the team values from 2012
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenha ... ble-teams/

the cost of running an f1 team isn't that much greater than a nascar team when you consider the differences.
1. nascar has 30 races over one continent compared to F1's 20 over multiple continents.
2. nascar has tighter, simpler and more restrictive regulations

F1's "financial issues come down to two things I'm my mind.
1. Bernie is milking F1 into oblivion. I would give just about anything to see him gone
2. Teams are still being run like they where decades ago. They need to evolve and run like a big corperation

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by Pup » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:37 pm

munudeges wrote:I did tell a few esteemed members of this forum to go and read Dieter Rencken, but alas a few do not seem to be able to read English. I will help out, and he's even more pessimistic than I ever thought the situation was. I have bolded the really relevant bits just in case anyone is still having difficulty, but I've almost ended up bolding all of it:
Dieter Rencken wrote:Where 2009 negotiations had been on a (FOTA) group basis, FOM CEO Bernie Ecclestone shrewdly managed to divide the teams into two distinct groups – and it can be no coincidence that Ferrari and Red Bull managed to grab the largest teams' shares of F1's billion-dollar revenues through to 2020 for themselves...

It is this inequitable revenue distribution structure – which provides for an almost 1000 per cent difference between the top and bottom payouts over the 11-team spread – that lies at the root of the abyss the majority of teams are staring into.

By way of contrast, consider that in England's 2012/13 (football) Premier League the 20th-placed team (Queens Park Rangers) earned 60 per cent of that banked by championship-winning squad Manchester United.

Using the Premier League structure as a basis for F1's revenue structure and assuming the top team receives around £60m, it would mean the 11th-placed outfit pocketed £35m. Instead it receives a paltry £8m, and then only after a year-long campaign mounted by (mainly FOTA) teams.

Equally significantly, the shared Premier League 'pot' for the 2012/13 season amounted to almost £1 billion, whereas F1's 11 teams are fortunate if they currently carve up half that despite F1's revenues running at similar levels – providing ample proof of how much FOM retains, with most flowing to majority owner CVC Capital Partners.

By the same token, FOM could stand accused of not maximising revenues: if, after all, a domestic football cup played on an island with a population of 60 million turns over more in nine months than does the world's (alleged) largest annual sporting block during the same period, somebody somewhere is clearly not delivering to full potential...
Formula 1 is a financial and commercial ghetto, end of story.
Indeed, the Premier League was pretty much the model for FOTA, so it's certainly worth discussing. Keep in mind though that the league earns a couple of billion $ more per year than F1*, so they can afford to be a bit more generous in total dollars. As a percentage though, it's interesting - despite earning much more, the league teams still pay to themselves the same 50% of their income as does F1**. And while I don't know the financial structure of the league, I assume that they don't have the same debt load as F1. Much of the money CVC gets is going toward debt reduction***. I'm curious where the rest of the Premier League money goes.

So they're very similar in terms of what the teams get back. But of course I agree, as I said earlier, that what FOM does pay to the teams is inequitably distributed and seems very unfair to the smaller teams. But I think that says more about the bargaining power of the larger teams than it does about Bernie.

* I'm not sure where Renken decided that F1 and the Premiere League have similar revenues. Wikipedia says that the Premiere League earns approx. 2.5B euro a year, or roughly $3.5B. In contrast, F1 reported $1.4B in income last year.

** Combining numbers from the cited post and from wikipedia, so anyone who knows better, please correct me.

*** Or it has in past years. Last year they issued a dividend, which I'm guessing is the result of selling part of their ownership and the new owners wanting an annual return.
Last edited by Pup on Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by Moxie » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:59 pm

Pup wrote: This might be a good argument for customer teams. Not only would they be more competitive for less money, but the FIA could then hold a 'customer championship' alongside the constructors. That would give the customer teams a separate shot at prize money and perhaps more exposure.
The trouble here lies in the semantics. Ferrari and Mercedes are clearly factory teams. But the team that used to be the Renault factory team is now a customer team. Despite enormous backing from Renault, Red Bull was always a customer team.

I think the problem needs to be addressed financially, but not through subsidies or even pricing the cost of participation according to the points earned in the previous season.

Just as I believe that the rearward positions deserve higher prize payouts to compensate for the financial risks the teams take to enter F1 to begin with. I also believe that the prize money for the top payouts provide a disincentive to spend like drunken fools. Poker players call it pot odds. The money a player is willing to risk is largely dependent upon the size of the pot and the odds of winning that pot. If the size of the pot decreases, the expenditures of the front running teams will also decrease. Now the trick of the whole matter would be getting the balance just right so to payout enough throughout the grid to keep the grid full of teams, but still providing incentive for leading teams to develop wonderful cars.

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by MOWOG » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:17 am

The bickering and bitterness on display in this thread greatly diminish its value. Ad hominem attacks are never appropriate or productive in serious discussions.

Some men go crazy; some men go slow. Some men go just where they want; some men never go.

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by hollus » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:44 am

To bring some context: It might have been nice in the times when a single designer would pen a championship winning car, when steel was an acceptable material, when the team flying to races consisted of 5 people and 1 or 2 spare pieces, when engines 100HP down lasted for most of a season, when there was prequalifying and when the 5th placed finisher often scored points for being 3 laps down.
But now we live (and race) in an era with 90% reliability, a 107% rule, and the cars are made of carbon fibre.

According to Pat Symmonds in his Marussia days, the cost of going racing is 50 million (believe it was dollars). That's the cost of just showing up for 18 races over the world with a car (make that two) that can race. That means that the car has to be legal and pass very stringent crash tests, the several mechanics needed just to start an engine, never mind perform a pit stop, to run a small data center for telemetry at the race track, the 10+ million to buy an engine, the autoclaves with a small army of laminators, the "minimal" wind tunnel program needed to get within the 107% rule. Only then you can actually race, meaning qualifying and having a hope of finishing the race.

Again according to Pat Symmonds, then and only then, anything you can spend above those 50 million goes into making you competitive.
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. TANSTAAFL!

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by Moxie » Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:36 pm

Just for the record:

I don't know how the technical details of how this forum works, but before I post I like to read the previous several pages of posts to make sure I have not missed anything. I feel kind of silly that my layman post about pot odds appears after PUP's quote of Dieter Rencken which says the same thing but clearly includes more studious information. I swear that wasn't there when I posted.

Tip of the hat to Mr Rencken and to PUP for posting the quote.

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by munudeges » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:25 pm

Pup wrote:Indeed, the Premier League was pretty much the model for FOTA, so it's certainly worth discussing.
:roll:
Keep in mind though that the league earns a couple of billion $ more per year than F1*, so they can afford to be a bit more generous in total dollars.
:roll:
Equally significantly, the shared Premier League 'pot' for the 2012/13 season amounted to almost £1 billion, whereas F1's 11 teams are fortunate if they currently carve up half that despite F1's revenues running at similar levels....
It's impossible to debate this nonsense, so I'm not going to.

Tony Fernandes finds it more profitable to lose in a league of 38 teams with Queens Park Rangers than he does in a league of 11 in a supposedly global sport.

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by Pup » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:43 pm

munudeges wrote:
Keep in mind though that the league earns a couple of billion $ more per year than F1*, so they can afford to be a bit more generous in total dollars.
:roll:
Equally significantly, the shared Premier League 'pot' for the 2012/13 season amounted to almost £1 billion, whereas F1's 11 teams are fortunate if they currently carve up half that despite F1's revenues running at similar levels....
It's impossible to debate this nonsense, so I'm not going to.
I found Premier League figures two places, and used the lower of the two figures:

$3.5B - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13679632
$3.9B - http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablo ... ounts-debt

FWIW, the higher figure is the more recent.

Here are F1's numbers:

$1.4B - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... -865m.html

I'm converting everything to dollars since that's how F1's numbers are typically reported.

So like I said below, I don't see where Renken decided that the two sports have similar incomes. They're billions apart.

Regardless, the more interesting figure for me is that they return a similar 50% of their income to the teams as does F1.
munudeges wrote:Tony Fernandes finds it more profitable to lose in a league of 38 teams with Queens Park Rangers than he does in a league of 11 in a supposedly global sport.
This is getting fairly off topic, but QPR are run at a loss, have over $150M in debt, and have been relegated to the Championship League.

Source - http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/ ... ce-2802097

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by munudeges » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:55 am

For starters, Rencken isn't pulling figures from places he's desperately googled for and if people actually read what they're attempting to reply to he's looking at the two sports over the same time period. But then, that's simply too much to hope for.

He's also looking at the the 2012/2013 time period, in which Tony Fernandes did indeed find it more profitable to lose with QPR than he did with Caterham with far fewer competitors in a supposedly global sport. The alleged percentage returns are pure nonsense, because based on the posted articles these are based on total revenue, including what the clubs make themselves, and not on broadcast revenue or what the governing body hands down so we've got some handy number play there and much muddying of the waters. Premier League clubs get £1 billion whereas Formula 1 teams are lucky to be able to get half of that. That's the essential arithmetic.

Even then, the argument can't be had all ways because you have to ask how a sport in one country could possibly rake in the same, or more when you take other things into consideration, than one that is supposedly global - as Rencken asks. Squirming over alleged percentage returns is a complete strawman argument because people know fine well the real issue here is completely uneven distribution. Again, I'm going back to the article that people aren't reading when QPR got 60% of what Manchester United got as champions. For one team out of 11 to get £8 million out of all of that in comparison is just plain ridiculous.

It's no use people complaining of supposedly ad hominem attacks when people clearly aren't reading, and deliberately so it seems.

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by la stradale » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:43 am

Long time lurker, first time poster. This is a topic which goes to the heart of the survival of F1, which is what provoked me into posting.


In 2003, F1 Magazine reported that Scuderia Ferrari's annual budget was $443,800,000. Factored for inflation and variation in the exchange rate, that comes to near as makes no difference 550 million 2014 Euros. And it bears noting that the 2013 gross incomes of F1 as a whole from all sources were far greater owing to the rise of satellite television and the unrelenting expansion of the Internet (which go to market penetration and merchandising). And at least one other team -- Toyota -- reputedly spent more money contesting the 2003 WDC than did Ferrari.

In 2013, according to Auto-Motor-und-Sport, Red Bull Racing outspent the rest of the grid with a budget of €278.4M. So how is it possible that this crisis is the result of the teams' excessive spending when they're spending only half as much as they did 10 years ago but the sport is far more profitable?

Enter 2005 and the CVC Capital Partners.


I see Dieter Rencken's name already has been taken in vain. Last October, he wrote a piece in Autosport Plus titled, Formula 1's biggest scandal detailing the systemic financial abuses committed by the Formula One Group and CVC against the F1 teams. In short, the FOG control access to virtually every resource the teams require to compete in F1, and they gouge the teams at every possible turn.

Bernie has used his years at the helm of F1 to leverage his position to gain control over everything to do with the sport, from transportation and shipping to lodgings to rental of circuits for track tests, and even individual team's revenue sharing deals with promoters. FOG gets their pound of flesh from every ducat that changes hands.

Every race and every test session, for instance, Formula One World Travel, a subsidiary of the FOG, receive advance notice of the schedule dates. They block-book all suitable lodgings near the circuit, which leaves the teams no recourse but to book through FOWT, who charge them double what they otherwise would have had to pay. Either that or sleep in a tent. Nor are the fans immune from this increase, so if you have marveled at the jump in hotel rates on an F1 weekend, now you that it isn't entirely predicated on the law of supply and demand.

The teams are obligated to use DHL, the FOG's official logistics partner, for shipping all freight in excess of a 10,000 kilos to the fly-away races. Even in the post-refuelling era, teams all still need to ship well in excess of 10,000 kilos, and are charged a king's ransom for the overage. Rencken cites as a source "one team boss," who stated that the excess surcharge was well more than what a non-FOG-encumbered shipper might have charged for the entire shipment. When asked why he didn't use the less expensive option, the team boss stated that their non-DHL shipments wouldn't clear customs in time (implying that the speed of the customs officials was influenced by the name of the shipper).

FOG's standard fee for hosting a race weekend is $30 million. But it doesn't end there. Bernie can and will unilaterally demand facilities improvements and circuit "modernization," on a whim, the cost of which commonly runs into the millions, and which must come entirely out of the promoter's end, else the deal is off. But the promoter is just the middle man, so he passes the additional charges on to the teams (and to the fans, too), in every way possible. One circuit charged teams £60 for the weekend's use of two coat hangers. Two (2). Another charged a full year's rental for one weekend's use of a small storage shack. Still another charged the equivalent of the full cost of a pit scooter for five days of its use. Some venues have enlisted the aid of local politicians, who cooperated by imposing a surcharge on taxi fares and hotel room rates on F1 race weekend (as much as 30% in Singapore), proceeds from which go to funding the race.

When asked why they resorted to such extreme measures, the promoters universally claimed they only were attempting to staunch the bleeding from the CVC's overcharges.

One promoter even attempted to charge credentialed press £100 for a weekend of high speed Internet access, but the journos revolted and demanded to know why. When he answered that it was because he was losing money due to exorbitant hosting fees, they queried why they should be made to suffer for his poor negotiating skills. So he relented.

The teams are partial to traveling via Emirates air. But ever since they signed a partnership deal with F1, their rates on routes serving F1 cities on race weekend dates have risen out of proportion to their competitors over the same routes and dates. So Emirates apparently are seeking to pass the signing fee along to the sport's cadre, media, and fans.

When teams hold a test session, they routinely hire a publicity firm to record the event, the goal being a bit of self-promotion and possibly defraying some of the expense. But none other than the FOG have an exclusive deal with every PR firm known to be suitably equipped and capable of performing test day publicity filming and photography. As well as all customary publicity distribution sources. So the FOG gets a slice of that pie, too. But perhaps most revealingly, if two or more teams elect to team up and share the test session's fixed costs (circuit, staff, etc), exclusive ownership of all publicity materials defaults to the FOG. Meaning the teams would have to pay for them a second time, directly to the FOG.

Perhaps most bizarrely, once having won funds from the FOG in the guise of World Constructors Championship prize money, they still aren't exempt from Bernie's pocket-picking. The following season's entry fee is graduated, according to how much WDC money a team was paid on the preceding. According to Marrusia's sporting director, the base entry fee presently is $508,000, plus an additional $5,080 per WDC point awarded. So pointless Marussia and Caterham each get by with the half million base fee, while the cost to WDC-winning Red Bull is something over $3.5m.

The teams are not even allowed to use the walls surrounding their pit road garage for their own advertisements because the FOG have claimed dibbs. Which both increases the bottom line to the FOG (because sponsors' money is being paid directly to them) and minimises the team's abilities to recruit sponsorships.

The net effect is akin to that of the infamous "company towns" of the American coal fields. What the mining company pays to its miners is of little consequence, because they own the entire town, every house and every store. Their absolute control over the availability of work tools and the basic essentials for life guarantees that they can recoup as much of what they pay to the miners as they wish. Even the hardest working of miners, living in the most austere of conditions, still can find himself owing the company store more than he is being paid.

The outcome of all this price-gouging is eminently predictable. Marussia, who have shown a considerable financial acumen outside of F1, and who were lured to the sport by Mad Max Mosely's promise of a £32m/$40m budget cap, after three seasons find themselves £140m in the hole. Williams recently posted a £5m loss. Sauber had to sell part-ownership to the Russians to remain afloat. Lotus famously could not afford to pay its drivers (not even its reserve and test drivers, just come to light).

In 2012, McLaren won six races and came third in the WDC, yet profited a mere £3.1m in the doing (almost £19m less than in 2011). The 2014 entry fee alone for the team coming third in the 2013 WDC (Ferrari) is £1.4m. And surely the financial acumen of any F1 team which has managed amass more than £1 billion in on-track revenues must be beyond reproach, so accusations of mismanagement on McLaren's part should be greeted with a healthy portion of skepticism. And both Force India and Caterham remain on the F1 grid entirely due to the largesse of their billionaire benefactors.

On the other hand, in its most recent financial statement, the outcome of all its penny-pinching, usurping and --- is that the Formula 1 division of the CVC Capital Partners posted a combined total profit from the sport of a bit more than £2 billion.

Bernie is wont to point out that the FOG's payout to the teams now is 62% of profits (increasing to 68.7% in 2014), as opposed to the 47.5% previously stipulated under the most recent (now expired) Concorde Agreement, conveniently omitting the fact that the teams occupying the more destitute half of the grid will never see so much as a single farthing of the additional 14.5%. He simply distributes it among the top five, thereby quelling all incentive to form a break-away series, and leaving the lesser teams without a rebellious leg to stand on.

In fact, this long has been Bernie's Modus Operandi. Distribute the money equitably? Perish the thought. Give only as much as is absolutely necessary to the most influential of recipients, and the rest goes to defraying Tamara's and Petra's bills for Cristal and Beluga caviar. For 2013, Ferrari receive a total of $171m in "Bernie money;" $72m for their WCC result, and the other $99m as a 'Constructors Championship bonus.' Which more correctly should be called "the team with the yellow emblem featuring an equine animal standing erect only on exactly one-half of its legs" award, because Bernie, like much of the rest of the world, believes that F1 is Ferrari, and Ferrari is F1.

Which, ironically, is precisely why Marussia (of all people) received a $20 million bonus this season. They were sabre-rattling that they might take the FOG to EU court on complaints of unfair business practices. Bernie calculated (with his usual aplomb) that $20m would shut them up, and shut them up it did. And it probably cost him considerably less than the EUC ruling almost certainly would have. But you can rest assured this money came with no fewer than 20 million strings attached.

Rencken speculates that it is Bernie's undeclared objective to strangle one of the remaining teams to financial death, then to divide the 10 that remain into an 'A' (constructors) tier and a 'B' (customers) tier, a structural change which will afford opportunity to further reduce the pay-outs to the B-tier teams. And in the doing, leave more profit for him to buy extra foie gras for the girls.

CVC already have recouped their initial investment in F1 five times over, so as far as they are concerned, this deal already is past its prime and beginning to smell of last week's halibut.

I don't hold the teams entirely blameless. They are at least complicit in such stupidity as 2014's €21m engine leases, which aids their cause not in the least. But stupidity is so commonplace in the sport's management today, that decision well could strike them as brilliant in comparison.

To cut to the chase, the F1 teams are starving while CVC Capital Partners and the Formula One Group grow fat(er) off of the sweat of their collective brows. Rencken makes no bones about calling CVC's and FOG's practices exploitative. But he stops just short of calling them criminal. And sadly, Bernie's $20m STFU payment to Marussia might keep us ever in the dark on that count. He closes saying, "Will the EU ride to the fans' rescue? That will be about the only thing that will save F1 in the long term."

Indeed.

EDIT:
Last edited by la stradale on Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by Moxie » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:02 pm

And MrE wants to race in New Jersey???


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Running a racket in Tony Soprano's neighborhood without his involvement can be a dangerous proposal. Not to mention, a certain stretch of New Jersey roadway may be shut down unless contributions are made to a certain political campaign.
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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by Pup » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:31 pm

Wasn't there an epically long post here a few moments ago (like I should talk)? I was going to take a shot at responding to it. :?

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by hollus » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:05 pm

Yes, there was.
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. TANSTAAFL!

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Re: F1's unending financial woes; or "It's the income, stupi

Post by Pup » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:10 pm

Thanks.

Whomever posted it - post it again if you can. I had criticisms, but overall I thought there was some good info/thoughts in it worth discussing.