Abiteboul: F1 needs to include salaries in the cap

Date published: May 22 2020

Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo

Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul says Formula 1 is debating whether to add drivers’ salaries to future budget caps.

At present the team bosses are considering a proposal that would see the cap set at $145 million for 2021, falling to $140m for 2022 and $135m for 2023.

That, though, won’t cover all the teams’ costs.

While the various things such as engines and marketing is excluded from the cap, so too are the salaries of each team’s top three employees and also the drivers’ salaries.

In Renault’s case the latter, at least for 2020, means an extra $20m for Daniel Ricciardo for 2020 and $5m for Esteban Ocon.

Mercedes has the largest wage bill of $48m.

Abiteboul is keen to see drivers’ salaries included in the cap but admits there are a lot of legalities to iron out.

For example, drivers such as Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc already have long-term deals in place meaning their teams wouldn’t be able to slash their salaries even if they wanted to.

Policing it would also be difficult as drivers earning bonuses for performances.

“It’s part of the debate, part of what’s on the table, [but has] an additional complexity of legality, because we need to make sure that it’s legal, in the sense that we need to make sure that it’s forceable,” Abiteboul said on Sky Sports F1.

“And also the extra complexity that you have some drivers that have already very long-term contracts – so congratulations to Max [Verstappen] in that respect.

“But I think if we need to make exceptions for systems that will be healthy, and important for the sustainability of the sport, I think we still need to do it.

“We should not have one given individual, one given situation, in your current case Max’s contract or Charles [Leclerc’s] contract with Ferrari, to block a process if it is a right process.

“We think bringing a bit of rationale on driver salary when a number of people will be laid off because of the budget cap would make sense.”

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