Reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen has criticized the idea of capping driver salaries as a method of saving money in the sport, saying it will have a negative impact on young drivers trying to break into the top class of motorsport.
F1 introduced a budget cap last year to limit spending among the sport’s top teams and level the playing field on the grid. The cap currently stands at $140 million per year, but there are exemptions, including marketing expenses, driver salaries and the salaries of the team’s top three earners.
The cap has already proved controversial, with inflationary pressures since the start of the year leading some teams to call for an adjustment.
However, the longer-term F1 is considering adding a driver salary cap, which would effectively limit drivers’ earning potential. No agreement was reached, but several teams supported the idea in public.
Verstappen, who recently signed a new Red Bull contract until the end of 2028 worth around $40-50 million a year, believes the idea of a driver salary cap is misguided because the drivers deserve to benefit from the growing popularity of F1.
“I don’t think anyone really knows where this is going to take us, but from my side it’s completely wrong,” Verstappen said. “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. [Formula One Management].
“Everyone benefits from it, so why should the pilots, with their intellectual property rights and everything, be capped? In fact, we bring the show and put our lives on the line, because we do, eventually. So for Me, that’s completely wrong.”
Verstappen also warned it would limit sponsorship opportunities for young drivers hoping to make F1, who rely on backer money to pay for their progression through the junior categories in return for a reduction in their potential future earnings. in F1.
“Always in all the junior categories, if you see how many drivers have a sponsor or support that will have a certain percentage of their income in F1 or whatever,” he said. “I think that’s going to limit that a lot because they’ll never get their cash back and if you get a cap it’ll hurt all the junior categories as well and I don’t think you want that.”
Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton added: “I think a lot of us here invested a lot as young people and had to pay it back, which you would naturally want to do anyway. So that could definitely be impacted. .” in the future for the younger generation.
“You also have to remember that this sport is going from a $4-6 billion business to a $14 billion business. It just keeps growing and the teams are making more money than ever before, and we are a big part. I won ‘I won’t be here for much longer, but I think of the younger generation and I don’t think they should be capped.’
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel has hinted teams are simply trying to increase their own profits with the salary cap proposal rather than benefit the sport.
“I think it’s wrong to have a salary cap for the reasons Lewis mentioned. I think it’s interesting if you follow where it came from, this proposal.
“Obviously we have a budget cap now, which pushes the model towards income for all teams, and I think maybe they should be capped in terms of having certain fixed incomes and all that. beyond should go into a pool to do great things and have This is a suggestion, but I can imagine what the answer would be and the topic would disappear.
“But isn’t it a funny coincidence that the first time teams can make money from racing in Formula 1, something like the driver salary cap comes up? Just thinking, isn’t it? isn’t that funny?”