May 29 (GMM) Max Verstappen has slammed as “idiocy” plans to enforce a driver salary cap in Formula 1.
As a debate rages in the paddock about whether rampant inflation should bump up the $140 million per-team budget cap in 2022, it emerges that also under discussion is a separate limit on how much drivers can be paid.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto confirmed the talks.
“These discussions will take time,” he said at Monaco, “as you have to deal with the existing contracts.”
According to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the salary cap idea is also already opposed by Red Bull and even Liberty Media.
“Total idiocy,” said Verstappen’s manager Raymond Vermeulen when asked about the salary cap proposal.
Indeed, alongside seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton, Dutchman Verstappen is now clearly one of the most highly paid F1 drivers of all time.
“Drivers increase the value of a team,” Vermeulen explained. “This may be exploited indefinitely by the relevant team.
“But to then give whoever you buy that value from – the driver – a certain limit, it means the world is upside down,” he said.
Vermeulen confirms that Red Bull supports the Verstappen camp’s opposition to the cap.
“They are also very firm that they will never support it,” he said. “I also think it is illegal.
“Take a look at the facts. A grand prix came to the Netherlands thanks to Max. Zandvoort pays an annual amount to FOM to organise the race, a large part of which is divided among the teams. So they benefit from that.
“It would then be very strange if you were to limit only the driver’s earnings model.”
He said the prospect of meteoric driver salaries is part of what motivates sponsors to get behind a young driver’s rise through the ranks to Formula 1.
“That’s why I think this is a bad idea for the sport,” said Vermeulen. “You need these investors and sponsors who invest in talent and want to be associated with that driver for a long time.
“A salary cap will affect the entire sport.”
When asked about the topic of a driver salary cap, a spokesperson for the governing FIA said: “We have been approached by several stakeholders about this subject.
“Discussions are underway, but it is still very premature. We are going to evaluate whether it is beneficial and whether it is something for the future.
“It is not being pushed by us,” the FIA official added.