F1 » Todt 'worried' pay-drivers are ruining talented rivals' F1 chances


Nicolas Todt - manager to both Felipe Massa and GP2 Series front-runner Jules Bianchi - fears that talented drivers will increasingly be edged out of F1 race seats in the future by less capable but better-heeled rivals...

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Beamer - Unregistered

November 04, 2010 4:29 PM

Let's stay with the facts, how many pay drivers are there this year?

HRT - Yamamoto / Chandhok (I believe Senna was not a pay driver there)
Virgin - DiGrassi (?)
Renault - Petrov

For next year, Perez did get a seat at Sauber with the help of his sponsor, but still he has shown talent in GP2.

Kiran Patel

November 04, 2010 4:38 PM

Since when have pay drivers been new? Even Niki Lauda was a pay driver at the very outset!

Pay drivers will never take over F1. They will however help sustain poorer teams as they have done so since F1 began.

I guess Todt is more concerned about his interests in driver representation.



Alan D - Unregistered

November 04, 2010 5:27 PM

Beamer, you missed out Mercedes, Michael Schumacher. Okay, maybe he isn't a pay driver in the genuine sense of the word, but I think Mercedes probably more sponsorship purely on the basis of signing Schumacher than it costs to hire him.

You also missed out Ferrari, Fernando Alonso. Spanish bank Santander signed a three year sponsorship deal with Mclaren when Alonso was there, and then signed an even bigger deal with Ferrari apparently on the condition that Alonso was a Ferrari driver. Santander even paid the extra needed to terminate Kimi's contract to get Alonso in.

So does that make Schumacher and Alonso into pay drivers?

Rick B

November 04, 2010 5:55 PM

Oh please, not again. Pay drivers are nothing new. No hope teams like HRT and Virgin are nothing new. The two went hand in hand for most of F1's history except for the few years in the early 21st century when F1 was dominated by manufacturer backed teams.

That was the aberration, now we're back to business as usual. The only thing we need is more cars. We still have an undersized grid, with two places left and zero risk of non-qualifiers.

If not qualifying becomes a real risk, teams will be very much more selective when it comes to taking on pay drivers, because it could actually cost them money.

Rob01 - Unregistered

November 04, 2010 5:55 PM

The true litmus test is how much of the purse the driver receives. Zanardi told me once while in the states that in F1 he received 5 percent of the purse or winnings. In the Indy racing league that number goes as high as 50 percent. And creative sponsorship deals like alonso and ms have are NOT considered pay drivers.

Alan D - Unregistered

November 04, 2010 8:30 PM

Rob, Alonso might not be considered a pay driver, but you could argue that if Santander hadn't been willing to pay so much to get their sponsored driver into Ferrari then former WDC Kimi would be driving in F1 this year. Isn't Kimi "talented" to use Todt's word?

chrian - Unregistered

November 04, 2010 8:30 PM

Every driver is a pay driver, one way or another. The account flows may point in different directions, but every driver brings something to the table, whether money, engines, nationality, relationships, or someone to pay his salary indirectly.

They are all paying drivers. One way or another.

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