Hamilton "surprised" by F1 plan to introduce "very emotional" driver salary cap
Lewis Hamilton has conceded to "surprise" over Formula 1's plans to introduce a driver salary cap.
The matter was aired during a video conference meeting of the F1 Commission on Monday, and received unanimous support from all 10 teams.
Although no details have been officially ratified, the aim is for a $30million cap to be introduced from 2023, with that figure to be split across a team's two drivers.
Such a figure would appear to pose an issue for Hamilton and Mercedes as it is understood the six-time F1 champion's current deal is worth around $30million per year.
Hamilton has insisted the plan for a cap "has nothing to do" with the delay in his negotiations over a new contract with Mercedes, which are currently on hold until the 35-year-old and the team have wrapped up this season's drivers' and constructors' titles.
Asked about the likely introduction of a cap, Hamilton said: "From a driver's point of view it's a surprise for us. We'd heard of the idea a while ago, I think it was last year in France maybe, but it's the first we've heard of it this week.
"I think it's important the GPDA [Grand Prix Drivers' Association] work closely with F1, and get into discussions."
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff also feels it important for the drivers' representative body to be involved in such talks.
Recognising the difficulties in imposing a cap, particularly given the tight structure of a driver's contract with regard to image rights and personal endorsements, Wolff said: "The discussion around this topic is a very emotional thing.
"F1 teams, in order to be sustainable long term and attractive as sports franchises, need to show profitability, like any other company out there, and we all need to achieve that.
"On the other side its clear that drivers - and the ones in Formula 1 are the best in the world - should earn high salaries, like all the other top sports stars.
"Today their income is limited because of what they are getting from the team, the scope of promoting their brand, endorsement deals etcetera.
"That's why it will be very interesting to sit around the table with representatives of the drivers, and the drivers themselves, to see how we align ourselves long term so everybody is benefiting from the growth in Formula 1, like US sports have done, without really harming future earnings for the drivers."
What if Hamilton gets paid up to the 'cap' for his F1 work but then does a lot of very highly paid PR work for Mercedes or Petronas or other associated companies? How could that possibly be policed? It's the same with the F1 spending cap, these business are so complex, no-one can possibly follow all of the money, it's just going to lead to complaints, allegations, investigations and a whole new level of distraction. The F1 rule book became ridiculous years ago, now it's a joke.
We need simplification not complication.
Yeah it's about how they can work round it to "top up" the capped amount - like giving them percentage cuts of rhe existing sponsorships, and like yiu say extra revenue streams outside of their drivers salary - company "embassador", etc...
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