Hamilton fears salary cap will handicap talent

by Nov 27, 20200 comments

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World champion, Lewis Hamilton fears the proposed salary cap will handicap the sport’s established stars and newcomers.

Last month the teams agreed in principle to the introduction of a $30m cap on drivers salaries to be introduced in 2023. This follows the introduction of a $145m racing budget in 2021 as part of the sport’s efforts to level the playing field and entice new teams by reducing costs.

The proposal was backed by all ten team bosses at a meeting of the F1 Commission and will go forward for ratification by the World Motor Sport Council in December.

Earlier this year, Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, who has admitted that he will have to dig deep in order to agree a new deal with Hamilton, who is currently on around ¬£40m a year, welcomed the cap but warned that it could cost the sport some of its “superstars”.

“The salary cap is something that we have supported,” he said. “I believe similar to the leagues in the US, if you cap the team at $145m with a downward slope, you need at a certain stage to also cap high salaries.

“We have said we don’t want to lose the superstars out of this sport,” he continued, “so it needs to be a gradual introduction from 2024 onwards so that the future generations of drivers end up on a more sensible level, in considering that we have a cost cap on the team.

“This is my opinion,” he made clear. “I think it would be good for the sport. They need to be inspirational, the drivers, and as you can see in the US, the top football players and the top basketball players are still very inspirational.

“I think high salaries are what they deserve, because they are global superstars and they are the best of their league. I think it should not end up in a ratio, salary of an individual compared to the team cap, that over certain time is going to create controversy that is not needed.”

Speaking to reporters in Bahrain, Hamilton said of the cap: “I’m not personally opposed to it, but 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.

“If you look at other sports, there have been salary caps in some of those sports,” he continued, whilst indicating another aspect of the situation with which he disagrees. “The one difference is that in those places the individuals own their image (rights) in many areas, they can try to maximise their image elsewhere. This sport controls pretty much the driver’s image.

“It is a multi-billion dollar sport and they should be rewarded for what they do bring to it,” he insisted.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Bahrain, here.



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