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Toto Wolff backs American-style F1 driver salary cap

Toto Wolff backs American-style F1 driver salary cap

F1 News

Toto Wolff backs American-style F1 driver salary cap

Toto Wolff backs American-style F1 driver salary cap

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has backed plans for F1 to introduce an American-style driver salary cap after declaring the country's sports leagues "the most successful in the world".

F1 is enjoying a period of significant growth, with record attendances and viewing figures allowing some teams to turn a profit rather than live on the edge.

A much-debated cost cap was introduced last season at $145million, dropping by $5m for this year, and then running at $135m for 2023-2025.

This figure, however, excludes several outgoings, primarily driver salaries, with the sport now looking to place a cap on this expenditure.

Conceding its lack of popularity with drivers, Wolff explained: "Certainly, it has come up as a controversial topic. We can see that we are facing a very difficult situation in Formula 1 overall.

"The sport is booming and Formula 1 is earning more money and that trickles down to the teams but we have a cost cap. We have $140million for 1,000 people.

"With the inflation, we haven't been able to pay the inflation and I think that the talk about a $30million or $40million salary allowance is inadequate when you take that perspective.

"Clearly, the drivers will have an opinion on that and maybe as a driver, I would say the same thing but the US and American [sports] leagues that are the most successful in the world introduced salary caps 15 years ago.

"It works pretty well over there and Formula 1 is looking at it without an immediate solution to it.

"I think, like all the other sports in the world, we need to find a way of how we can act sustainably and become independent from sovereign funds or state-owned teams."

Wolff suggests endorsements could increase earnings

In American sports, the stars enjoy a visible presence promoting brands, a rarity in F1.

In response, Wolff suggested: "We need to find a way to unlock the capability to do endorsement deals which are two-thirds, if not more [of the wage] for US American sports teams."

Team principals and a number of other high earners within an F1 team are also currently exempt from the F1 budget cap.

Despite potentially harming his own income, Wolff suggested these salaries should also not go unchecked.

"By the way, one more point, we shouldn't be excluding the top earners in the team," added Wolff. "In order to make it sustainable, everyone should be covered by the cost cap.

"It is not only the drivers but the team principals and the senior management.

"You can't simply have a salary being in some of the top teams of $30-40-50million when the rest of the team needs to be divided in $140million.

"But having said that, they are tremendous superstars, they deserve to be among the top earners in the sport - in terms of direct salaries, they already are."

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