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Toto Wolff Says Driver Salary Cap Should Be Less Than Lewis Hamilton Earns

Ryan Sidle

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Toto Wolff Says Driver Salary Cap Should Be Less Than Lewis Hamilton Earns

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has called on Formula One to introduce a salary cap, and insisted it should be less than the £40 million-a-year the seven time drivers champion earns.

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F1 has been introducing lots of rules in recent years to reduce the cost of the sport and bring the top teams and those lower down the grid closer together.

One area team bosses would like to cut down on is with drivers salaries, with the possibility of the introduction of a wage cap being spoken about.

Driver's are reportedly not all too keen on that idea, unsurprisingly, but Mercedes team principal Wolff believes it's a good idea, even though his idea would see Hamilton's wage reduced.

"It certainly has come up as a controversial topic. We can see that we are facing a very difficult situation in F1 overall," the Austrian told reporters following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, that left Hamilton with a severe back injury, on Sunday.

"The sport is booming and F1 is earning more money and that trickles down to the teams.

Toto Wolff and his fellow team bosses would no doubt love to lower the driver's wages. Image: Alamy
Toto Wolff and his fellow team bosses would no doubt love to lower the driver's wages. Image: Alamy

"But we have a cost cap. We have $140million for 1,000 people. With inflation, we haven't been able to even pay the inflation.

"The talk about $30 or $40 million salary allowance is inadequate when you take that perspective.

"Clearly the drivers will have an opinion on that. Maybe as a driver I would say the same thing, but the US American leagues that are the most successful in the world have introduced salary caps 15 years ago. It works pretty well over there.

"We need to find a way of how we can act sustainably and become independent from sovereign funds or state-owned teams.

"Therefore it is certainly clear that this is going to be one of the main areas because you can't simply have a salary bill in some of the top teams that is 30, 40, 50 million when the rest of the team needs to be divided in 140m.

"But having said that, they are tremendous superstars, they deserve to be among the top earners in the sport."

Hamilton and Verstappen are the two highest paid drivers in the sport. Image: Alamy
Hamilton and Verstappen are the two highest paid drivers in the sport. Image: Alamy

Wolff's argument is basically that they need to lower the wages of two members of staff so all the others can get paid more money.

Max Verstappen's counter argument is that drivers deserve so much because they put their lives at risk every time they get behind the wheel

The current world champion certainly has a point, but there's a huge disparity between what he and bitter rival Hamilton earn, compared to the rest.

Hamilton is the highest paid driver in the sport on £40 million, with Verstappen not far behind him, with the Red Bull Racing driver making £37 million.

However the next on the list is Lando Norris, who reportedly earns 'just' £10.5 million for McLaren, whilst Hamilton and Verstappen's teammates, George Russell and Sergio Perez, are well down the list.

Hamilton's issues continued at Baku with a back problem to go with his problem car. Image: Alamy
Hamilton's issues continued at Baku with a back problem to go with his problem car. Image: Alamy

Despite the sport being worth billions fans enjoyed Alpha Tauri's attempts to fix Yuki Tsundoa's car mid race in Baku at the weekend.

The Japanese driver was forced to pit late on because of an issue with his rear wing and the engineers were left just whacking some tape on the back of the car, real hi-tech.

More fixing like that will surely mean less money has to come out of the drivers' back pockets.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Ryan Sidle
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