Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton is quick to defend future generations of F1 stars when it comes to driver salary caps.
Recently, F1 team bosses agreed in principal to impose a driver salary cap where teams would be limited to spending $30 million on its two drivers. The deal still has a ways to go before it becomes official.
While driver salaries are among the best-kept secrets in Formula 1, it is believed that seven-time series champion Hamilton commands upward of $40 million annually. Mercedes and Ferrari are also believed to be the only two teams who would currently need to trim its driver salaries to get under a $30 million cap.
Hamilton, who is still without a contract for 2021, is not worried so much about one day having to deal with a pay cut himself as he is concerned that future stars who bring the fans to the sport.The next generation of drivers, Hamilton fears, could lose out.
“Currently the salary cap is supposed to be implemented probably when I’m not even here,” Hamilton said in Bahrain on Thursday. “I do think that the sport, the drivers here, are naturally the stars of the sport. They’re the ones that are seen, they’re the ones that bring their brands, and their reputations help elevate the sport and help it travel globally around the world.”
Salary caps have been tried to varying degrees of success in the NHL, NFL and the NBA.
“There have been salary caps in some of those sports. I think the NFL, maybe,” Hamilton said. “I think the one difference is that those places, the individuals own their image in many areas and they can try to maximize their image elsewhere. This sport pretty much controls the driver’s image.”
AlphaTauri F1 team principal Franz Tost has suggested a $10 million cap per driver would be plenty.
“I don’t see any reason why the drivers shouldn’t get less,” Tost said earlier this year at Imola, Italy. “They should be happy that they have this job and that they also earn a little money.”
When asked for a response to Tost’s claim, Hamilton responded, “Who’s he?”
“I’m not personally opposed to it,” Hamilton added. “It’s not my decision at the end of the day. I do think about the next up-and-coming young stars that are coming through, and I don’t particularly see why they should be handicapped if they’re bringing something huge to the sport.
“It is a multi-billion dollar sport and (the drivers) should be rewarded for what they do bring to it.”
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