Le Mans winner Richard Bradley has offered insight into how drivers’ contracts work, with the complicated world of F1 gearing up for another ‘silly season’.
Given the lengths teams go to in order to protect themselves and how far the drivers want to push to help their interests, the negotiations involved are often protracted and lengthy in F1 in particular – heightened further by the amount of scrutiny involved on the series.
But with Bradley having raced against several F1 drivers of the past and present in the World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and through the junior categories, he was able to shed light on what the teams and drivers thrash out during negotiations.
F1 drivers have ‘significant performance clauses’ related to team-mates in their deals
A report from Dutch media emerged that Sergio Perez may be under threat of a pay cut at Red Bull if he is unable to get to within a certain threshold of Max Verstappen’s performances, with the reigning World Champion running away with the title race once again as it stands.
While Bradley added that such a threat is not a new thing in the motorsport world, he compared the lengths of contracts that drivers sign to other sports in that there are ways of getting around them if other teams become interested in a driver’s signature.
“There are significant performance clauses in there, from both the team’s side and the driver’s side,” Bradley explained on the On Track GP Podcast.
“So for example, if the driver is not within a certain performance range of his teammate, there can often be break clauses in there, or salary reductions.”
“I’ve seen that going around, whether it’s true or not? I mean, these are [contained within] the details of the contracts, but they’re not unheard of,” Bradley added of the Perez rumour specifically.
“Then for the teams as well, you can be sure that someone like Lando Norris will probably have a points clause in his contract for McLaren, saying: ‘Okay, this year, we’ve got to get a certain number of points. Otherwise, I’m allowed to search for new employment.’ It’s quite common.
“But also, it’s a bit like in football where, one of the things I’ve seen, as we mentioned before the show was that Leclerc might be signing a six-year contract with Ferrari.
“And you think ‘that’s a long, long time.’ But don’t you remember when Alan Pardew signed an eight-year contract with Newcastle [United]?
“So, contracts in sport are always kind of like, it’s more just an annoyance to get over. If you want someone or someone wants to go, there’s not really much you can do to actually keep them there if they’re not happy about it.
“You’ve seen it with footballers, even though they’ve got a contract, if they don’t want to play, they just don’t come to training.”
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