Adrian Sutil believes Formula 1’s pay driver dilemma is “out of control”.
The German won’t be on the grid next year while his Sauber team-mate Esteban Gutierrez has also lost his race seat after the team decided to replace them with Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, who both bring tons of cash through sponsorship.
Although Sutil concedes that pay drivers have been part and parcel of F1 for a long time, he says the current situation leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
“The budgets some drivers are paying for a year are out of control,” he told Autosport.
“This is not the way it should be.
“It has always been a problem, and it’s always more or less been like this.
“There were small teams 20 or 30 years ago where you could buy yourself a cockpit. Now there are less of them and maybe it’s more obvious.
“This is something that may never change in Formula 1, but we can make it a little more balanced.
“I remember when Minardi or Arrows were in Formula 1 and were still more or less profitable. And there were maybe a few drivers with sponsorship, but this was not the priority.
“It would be good to have this [situation] back, and then maybe you could call it a sport again.
“Right now, it’s hard to say what it is.”