Mark Webber says F1’s driver market is “quite unhealthy” as drivers are getting seats based on money and not always on talent.
This week has seen a couple of huge announcements with McLaren axing Sergio Perez to put rookie racer Kevin Magnussen in the car while Williams have parted ways with Pastor Maldonado, signing Felipe Massa as his 2014 replacement.
With Perez and Maldonado becoming free agents, millions of pounds are now out there in the driver market as both come with massive backing.
Added to that, Lotus have yet to confirm Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement with the team believed to be swaying between Nico Hulkenberg’s talent and a driver with money.
And these days, Webber laments, the latter is all too often the deciding factor when signing a driver.
“In 2002 I’m sitting on the grid and most of the people around me have been on the podium in Formula One,” the Red Bull racer told ESPNF1.
“Most of them have got a lot of experience. You have to give young talent a chance, so it’s not saying that you always have to have experienced guys because then there’s a bottleneck in bringing young talent through.
“That’s also why I don’t want to outstay my welcome. It’s not a charity, I’m not looking to help youngsters but also I want to get the timing right for me to realise that there’s a system that you need the top guys in here that are hungry for it all the time, which I was when I arrived.
“To have a driver say he hasn’t made his decision which team he’s going to is the wrong way round. Guys are saying I haven’t made my decision which team I’m going for, I’m checking which engines are going where and then I’ll make my decisions… it’s changed a lot in 10 or 12 years. And that makes it quite unhealthy for the driver market.
“Especially after Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, a bit McLaren, but then it gets… at this level with all of the smoke and mirrors we should have all of the staff members, everyone at the factory, all the drivers, everyone accounted for.
“The numbers should add up, but it’s got itself into a position that there’s people that are on the squeeze and that’s what the sport needs to address pretty quickly for the sake of everyone.”