If a decision is made that the salaries of Formula 1 drivers should be capped in-line with the general cost-cutting measures sweeping the top flight, then the sport's stars will just have to accept it, Nick Heidfeld has insisted.
With belts being tightened across the board, from engine development to aerodynamic innovation – as the FIA endeavours to drastically reduce a level of spending by teams that has in recent years spiralled out of control to the extent of being 'unsustainable', particularly in view of the current global credit crunch – it has been suggested that drivers too should play their part by agreeing to lower wages.
2008 Vice-Champion Felipe Massa – whose Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is understood to be the highest-paid competitor in F1 – has expressed his opposition to a pay cut, arguing that the money spent on drivers is comparatively small in relation to overall budgets, but BMW ace Heidfeld reasons that everyone must take the pain if needs be, even if he did admit he hopes it does not ultimately come to that.
“We will have to adjust ourselves to it, just like everyone else,” the experienced German told motorsport website spox.com
, countering Massa's view that driver salaries are not a major part of expenditure. “At the moment it is not really an issue, and I hope that there are other ways so that nobody loses their jobs and the driver salaries stay the same.”
A mandatory driver salary cap for teams has been mooted by the governing body, but F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone is adamant that such a measure will not prove necessary – provided teams remain sensible about the issue.
“If the teams don't offer the money, there is no need for a salary cap,” the 78-year-old told German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur