Drivers respond with incredulity to new FIA fines as Lewis Hamilton reveals ‘only way’ he’ll pay

Thomas Maher
Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton bump fists in the FIA Press Conference at the United States Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton bump fists in the FIA Press Conference at the United States Grand Prix.

The FIA has announced a new fine structure for F1, meaning F1 drivers could be paying as much as a million euro for a rule break…

At a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Geneva on Wednesday, the FIA signed off on the first change to the F1 maximum fine allowance for the first time in 12 years.

The new rule change, made to the FIA’s International Sporting Code, will allow the governing body to impose a maximum fine on F1 drivers of up to €1 million, an increase from the previous maximum of €250,000.

F1 drivers react to FIA fines rule change

Speaking at the FIA Press Conference at the Circuit of the Americas ahead of the United States Grand Prix, several of the drivers were asked for their thoughts on the changes to the fine structure – given that these fines are ones that can be handed directly to the driver, rather than to their teams.

“I would like to know what that offence can be for €1 million!” Red Bull’s Max Verstappen responded in the press conference, with all five drivers present having been unaware of the FIA rule change – details of which were only announced via an FIA statement an hour prior to the press session

Recounting when he was given a €50,000 fine for touching the rear wing of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes at the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix, Verstappen said: “If touching a rear wing is €50,000, then I would like to know what one million is! Then maybe we can sponsor also the bottles of wine, so I’ll get ready!”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc pointed out that some drivers don’t even earn in excess of the FIA’s new maximum fine amount: “It’s a huge amount of money. I have no idea about what deserves a €1 million penalty, but some drivers are making less than that. It’s a lot of money and… I don’t know.”

Daniel Ricciardo, returning from injury for AlphaTauri this weekend, labeled the new fines as ‘scary’, while Kevin Magnussen couldn’t resist poking a joke at Leclerc’s expense – the Monegasque having had his watch robbed in a street theft earlier this year.

“I don’t know what the offense it is to be a million but that sounds ridiculous,” he said.

“I mean, Charles can give his watch but, you know, I would disappear never to be found again!”

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Lewis Hamilton: The money needs to go to a worthy cause

Lewis Hamilton said that, in light of such large monetary fines, it’s important the money goes to a worthy cause, and isn’t just used up frivolously.

“I’m not really sure what it’s referring to exactly,” he said.

“But, when it comes to things like this, we really need to be thinking with the message that sends out to those that are watching.

“If they are going to be fining a million, let’s make sure that 100 percent of that goes to a cause.

“There’s a lot of money in this whole industry and there’s a lot more that we need to do in terms of creating better accessibility, better diversity, more opportunities for people who don’t normally have a chance to get into the spotlight.

“There are so many causes around the world. That’s the only way they’ll get that million from me.”

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