Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has claimed 'pay drivers' will always have an advantage in Formula 1 over those with no financial backing.
It is not uncommon in F1 for drivers, especially in the lower reaches of the grid, to be expected to bring financial support to a team. New recruit Nikita Mazepin falls into that category.
As pointed out by Steiner, however, this is nothing new, recalling a conversation with the late Niki Lauda.
“I go back to when I spoke with Niki a long time ago," said Steiner. "He said ‘I’m in F1 thanks to a bank which sponsored me so I could go and buy a drive with BRM’. He was thrice world champion.
“It is all how you want to see it. If you want to see it as a positive or a negative, it is your angle of how you want to look at it.
“So if somebody is good and has got the financial backing, for sure, he has got a better chance than somebody who is equally good but has no financial backer.
"Why would you choose that one with no financial backing?”
Commenting on several drivers currently on the grid, Steiner pointed out some of the biggest talents could also be categorised as 'pay drivers'.
“If they come with results it is good," said Steiner. "I always go back to this, that there are these pay drivers coming.
"There are a lot of drivers that get into F1 thanks to financial backing. There are very good drivers in F1 which, in the beginning, brought a sponsor.
“The first one to call is Checo [Perez]. Checo came into F1 and everyone said ‘He’s a pay driver’. Look at him now.
“George Russell, for me, is one of the best drivers. Without the help of Mercedes, he would not be anywhere. There is a lot of them there.
“Lance Stroll, he was on the podium [last season]. If they are good in F2 and they have a sponsor, that’s a perfect solution."
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