Lewis Hamilton believes all Formula 1 drivers deserve to be paid big money for what they bring to the sport despite revealing he is “not opposed” to a salary cap.
A recent proposal to introduce a limit of $30million in 2023, to be split across both drivers, has received unanimous support from the teams, with precise details still to be discussed.
Hamilton, who is currently paid a reported $30m per year himself, said: “This is a multi-billion dollar sport, and [drivers] should be rewarded for what they bring to it.
“I do think that the drivers here are naturally the stars of the sport, they bring their brand, their reputation helps elevate the sport and helps it travel globally around the world.”
According to Forbes, Hamilton was 13th on the list of highest-paid sports stars this year, but that list includes endorsements. Tennis player Roger Federer was top with $106m, albeit his winnings were a fraction of that at $6.3m.
In terms of salary, however, footballers Lionel Messi and Neymar earn a reported $72m and $70.5m respectively, while NBA star Lebron James collects $28.2m a year.
AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost recently suggested the cap for F1 should be as low as $10m per driver, and that the stars of the show should simply be happy to be driving the cars.
But Hamilton, who said the cap would be implemented “probably when I’m not even here” added: “If you look at other sports, there have been salary caps in some of those sports, like NFL and basketball maybe.
“But the one difference is in those places the individuals control their image in many areas and they can control their image elsewhere. This sport controls the driver’s image.
“So, I am not personally opposed to it, it’s not my position at the end of the day, but if you think of the next young stars that are coming through, I don’t see why they should be hamstrung if they’re bringing something to the sport.”
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