Grosjean: ‘Unacceptable’ for Hamilton to earn $40m a year
Romain Grosjean labeled as “unacceptable” the extreme level of Lewis Hamilton’s $40 million retainer at Mercedes, but the Frenchman admits that capping driver salaries could impact young drivers’ careers.
The idea of including driver salaries in Formula 1’s budget cap or restricting the level of contracts has been debated by drivers within the Grand Prix Drivers Association, of which Grosjean is a director.
But the group was hard pressed to find a consensus on the touchy subject.
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While one would perhaps expect for such stratospheric wages to be dismissed on a moral or equality basis during these difficult times, drivers rather argued that capping salaries could have repercussions on young driver programs.
“We had this talk in the GPDA,” said Grosjean. “some were in favour, others were against.
“I do think it’s unacceptable that Lewis Hamilton earns more than 40 million while some drivers earn €150,000 a year for the same job.
“However, what was pointed out was that if we cap drivers’ salaries, we break the whole ladder of motorsport.
“Who would invest money in young driver programmes to pay for their racing if they can’t get their money back by taking a percentage of the drivers’ high wages? That’s the debate.”
One could argue that no one on the current grid does “the same job” as Hamilton, as Grosjean says, for few are those who have the same skills as the Briton.
Furthermore, it is believed that only Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo enjoy mega deals that approach the level of Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes, although Max Verstappen’s income from Red Bull will eventually swell eventually to similar levels.
But Grosjean sees a salary cap as a deterrent for those, individuals or manufacturers, investing in young talent.
“Personally, I wasn’t necessarily against the idea of having drivers’ salaries in the budget cap,” added the Haas driver.
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“But then, for sure, you would question what manufacturer or manager would come and spend a fortune on a driver only to take back 20% of something that is capped, so never get their money back…”
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