Bottas weighs in on driver salary cap debate

Date published: May 18 2021 - Henry Valantine

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas says the drivers are “the stars of the show” in Formula 1, but cost-cutting in the sport is the “right direction” to take moving forward.

A salary cap for drivers has reportedly been discussed within the sport, with a figure of $30million mooted for teams to be able to spend on driver wages in a season.

A new budget cap has been introduced in the sport for the first time, with teams able to spend up to $145million per season, with that figure set to decrease further in the coming years to try and level the playing field in Formula 1.

Bottas, whose Mercedes team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton was recently named among Forbes’ top 10 highest-paid athletes in the world, says the idea of cutting costs is the right thing to do but that there is a limit on how far that should go.

Valtteri Bottas Spain 2021 PA

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“My thoughts on that? It depends on the numbers, of course, because we are in a position where we are used for marketing purposes by big brands,” said Bottas, via Motorsport-Total.com.

“In Formula 1, they use our image. In the end, the drivers are the stars of the show. There is value in that.

“It really depends on the cut, what would be the maximum. I don’t know the details there. Obviously there is a limit to everything.

“The sport is cutting costs and trying to become more efficient, which I think is good and the right direction in today’s world. For sure there is a limit but I don’t have more details. So it’s hard to say more about it.”

Currently, driver salaries and those of the three highest-paid employees in a team are not covered by the cost cap, with Charles Leclerc voicing his opposition to the proposed move.

As many as half of the grid are said to be earning above $10million per season, and McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes bringing salary costs down will only help to make the sport more equal moving forward – as well as being more financially sustainable.

“As teams continue to reduce costs across their operations, it is reasonable that driver salaries, along with the three highest-paid employee salaries, must eventually fall below a defined allowance,” Brown said in an open letter to fans on McLaren’s website.

“Expanding the budget cap to include a defined and regulated allocation for driver costs and the three highest salaries will include all the key performance elements and truly bring the sport to a level playing field.

“To secure our future, we need to continue to reduce the cost of our sport in all areas.”

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