Mercedes probably has a budget of c.$400 million for this year. (It's a number quoted in quite a few places but the source is quite difficult to pin down so take it with a pinch of salt).
To share some of Ex-Lotus boss Matthew Carter's view on the situation:-
Starting at the $145 million cap.
Lotus spent 17% on logistics (just travelling around the world). Let's make it 20% because Mercedes are a bigger team - $80 million
Driver wages: Lewis ($40m), Bottas ($10m) - $50 million
Marketing: Lotus used to spend $10-12m on marketing. Mercedes is much bigger so let's double that to, well, let's call it $25m.
Continuing on the same vein as Mr. Carter, my own research (intrinsic pinch of salt) suggests:-
Top three execs wages: Wolff was on c.$9m, Lauda pretty much the same. I suspect the next most valuable Exec was also on about the same. Let's call it $25m between them.
So that's $325m already.
The Formula 1 website says that teams were allowed to incur a total of $45m on capital costs over a four year period. So c.$10m a year but there's an increase for this four year period so it's really $15m a year for now.
Fees to enter the championship (for Mercedes, that will be $5.5m this year) and purchase super-licences (difficult to tell but Button said he paid c. $1.3m back in 2009 and inflation isn't your friend here). Let's call it c.$10m for entry plus Hamilton and Bottas' licences (we'll ignore the other drivers they might be on the hook for).
That bring us to $350m.
Employee bonus costs are all excluded. For a team like Mercedes, those bonus costs are going to be pretty high (Reuters put the 2014 title as being worth $16k minimum for every employee - c.500 employees for Mercedes? ). Let's call that $10m as I'm guessing at least a couple of people will get more than that bare minimum level of bonus and there's inflation over time so I think this is a very conservative number.
Their corporate Income tax and property costs are also excluded. I'm not even going to take a guess at these, but I strongly suspect that it's more than a couple of dollars, especially given how much income Mercedes had last year (I understand that they basically nearly broke even).
Engine purchases are excluded. I wonder if Mercedes can argue that they still need to buy an engine? If so, c.$20m
We're now at a conservative $380 million (excluding Income tax and property costs) and we've not looked at maternity/paternity leave, sick leave and contract intrinsic medical benefits.
Looking at the numbers, this doesn't feel like much of a cap. If only Mercedes had to abide by this cap, they'd be in the same position they are in now, spending more than every team other than Ferrari.