Racing contracts: what teams don’t want you to change

This post goes out to those of you who already know what you will drive next season. Not many people have this sorted yet, but we believe you should at this point. Take it this way: the top drivers already know where they will be and it’s not about who is rich and who is not. It’s about having a structure and working towards getting ready for the start of next year.

If you have started talking to teams and you feel like you are close to putting pen to paper, have a read through this to make sure you get the most out of the deal. This is the only moment when you will have the upper hand. Use it carefully, by going through these steps:

  • Payment plan

Make sure the payments are spread out in such a way that the team is happy to work 100% for you all the time but don’t get too much “in front” with the payments so that you keep control of the situation. Each race should be payed for before it happens, because the teams need to pay for fuel, tyres, logistics and so on. If you negotiate in such a way that they are always under pressure from the suppliers or organisers, then you will quickly become their least favourite customer. There’s a fine balance between being in charge and paying too late, so make sure you get this right.

  • Use of your car

You need to make sure the car you are driving during the season will be used solely by you. The teams don’t like you putting this in the contract because the usually use the cars during the season to test potential new drivers for the future. Make sure they don’t use your car for this.

  • Engineer

The big teams don’t want you to have the name of your engineer in writing. This is because they feel like they are loosing control and they won’t be able to later accommodate other drivers if they happen to actually ask for your engineer. If the team refuse to put the name of the engineer in writing, there are ways around this.

  • Insurance

Sometimes this gets neglected by people who don’t have specialist advice. The price of the season looks good, but the insurance franchise is off. If you don’t make sure this aspect is correct you’ll end up paying more in crash damage than you should.

  • Prize money & trophies

Some teams keep the prize money and the trophies. This is wrong. The prize money is customary split 50-50 between the team and the driver, because you win together. Some teams keep the trophies and they promise you copies. If you’re ok with this, make sure you put it in the contract that these copies will be delivered to you by the end of the season.

Motorsport contracts are very particular because they are unlike any other standard agreements out there. Make sure you read the fine print and f you need any advise or help, let us know. We can easily sort the contractual bits out for you.

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