F1: Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen Fight Against Potential Salary Cap
Red Bull champion Max Verstappen has admitted that he believes the introduction of a salary cap is “completely wrong” due to the fact drivers risk their lives while racing. Lewis Hamilton, and a number of other drivers, have also added their agreement to the pool.
With drama arising with the current $140 million budget cap, it’s no surprise that complaints are starting to show their face as F1 is looking to add a pay cap on top of this. Fernando Alonso has already questioned this after the Monaco Grand Prix, as he adds that F1 is “asking more and more” from the drivers on top of racing such as promotional functions.
But now 2021 world champion Max Verstappen has added his own thoughts after signing a high-value, four-year contract with his team. He, unsurprisingly, is against it.
“It’s still all a bit vague,” Verstappen told the press. “I think no one really knows where it is going to go but from my side, it’s completely wrong.
“I think at the moment, F1 is becoming more and more popular and everyone is making more and more money, including the teams and FOM. Everyone is benefitting, so why should the drivers, with their IP rights and everything, be capped?
“We actually bring the show and put our lives at risk, because we do, eventually. So for me, it’s completely wrong.”
He continued, adding that it could affect funding for more juniour racing drivers looking to move up to Formula 1.
“Also, in all of the junior categories, if you see how many of the drivers have a sponsor or a backer who will have a certain percentage of their income in F1 or whatever.
“I think it’s going to limit that a lot because they’ll never get their return in money and if you get a cap, so it will hurt all the junior categories as well and I don’t think you want that.”
Lando Norris of McLaren also added his opinions, agreeing with the Belgian driver.
“I think Max explained it really well, I think mainly because I’ve not had to think about it probably as much as him,” he joked.
“I think what he’s said is correct, especially the investment part into young drivers. It’s difficult enough to get into F1 at all, so as soon as you have a backer or investment as a driver, they obviously want their money back at some point.
“Obviously if it gets capped, it’s much harder or will interest people much less to ever invest into young drivers and invest into people having chances to get into F1 in the first place.”
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz also added his thoughts, questioning why this would happen when F1 has suddenly become more popular:
“More than anything, is it the right thing to do nowadays?” Sainz asked.
“If you tell me Formula 1 is in crisis because of COVID and the sport is going in a bad direction, the drivers are earning too much for what the sport is generating, I would tell you maybe there’s a chance or a point where we can all agree that maybe there is something that can be done.
“But when the sport is booming – you guys in Miami, you saw the amount of events, the amount of things we were doing, how busy we’ve been recently as racing drivers, and we just keep hearing that the championship is going to grow to 25 races… even 30 in the future… and now when the sport is booming you want to cap us?
“I find it a very illogical idea right now, and an idea that makes very little sense for where the sport is at the moment.”
Lewis Hamilton added that he doesn’t want the younger generations to be affected by a potential cap:
“It’s a difficult question to answer. I don’t really have all the facts and I haven’t really spent time thinking too much about it.
“I can’t give you a factual answer on that, what is right or what is wrong.
“I think there have been many of us that have been here who had been heavily invested in as youngsters and had to pay that back which you’d naturally want to do anyways so that for sure could be impacted in the future for the younger generation.
“Also, you have to remember that this sport has gone from $4-6bn to a $14bn business – it’s consistently growing, the teams are growing more money than ever before and we are a huge part of that. I won’t be here for a huge amount longer but I do think about the younger generation and I don’t feel they should be capped.”
Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel agreed with the 7-time world champion:
“I think it’s wrong to have a salary cap for the reasons that Lewis mentioned. I think it’s interesting if you follow up where it’s coming from, this proposal. Obviously, we have a budget cap now which pushes the model towards earnings towards all of the teams.
“I think maybe they should be capped on having certain fixed earnings and everything beyond that should go to a certain pool to do great things with it and have a positive impact. As a suggestion, I can imagine that the response would be… the topic would disappear so I will leave it to you.”