What is a pay driver in F1? Alpha Tauri chief and Guenther Steiner claims the era is over due to FIA super license, recent cost cap

F1 is often called the sport of elitists, because of the high amount of money involved in becoming a part of the apex of motorsports and how difficult it is to become a part of this prestigious event.

Considering, the money involved, it is a common notion among the people that rich people can easily get an entry into Formula 1 without working much towards earning the right to drive with their talent. But, it seems that while earlier this could indeed be an option, current rules and situations won’t permit such sort of action.

What is a pay driver in F1?

A pay driver, is simply a driver who manages to get into Formula 1 on behalf of his riches, and approaches a relatively lower team to help them in development costs in exchange for a full time driving seat in their team. Pay drivers are often a matter of hate and scorn among F1 enthusiasts because it’s commonly seen that they lack talent compared to other competitors or simply are unable to drive without risking other drivers lives in F1 races.

Nikita Mazepin

A prime example of these drivers are, Nikita Mazepin and Lance Stroll, who are always on radar about how they perform in F1. While, Nikita is no longer a part of Formula 1, he previously was in Haas F1 team due to a sponsorship deal between Haas and his dad’s company Uralkali.

Lance Stroll is on a better level compared to him as his father almost owns the Aston Martin Formula 1 racing team.

AlphaTauri chief and Guenther Steiner says FIA Super license and cost cap ended pay driver era

Addressing Total-Motorsports.com, Franz Tost, team principal of AlphaTauri F1 commented, “The pay driver is out,” he goes on to add that, “Because first of all, most of most of the time they pay driver is not the fastest one and the FIA with the Super License stopped this. A driver can only come into F1 if he is successful in Formula 3 and Formula 2, nevertheless it can be that the driver is fast, gets the super license and brings a sponsor which is the best that can happen for the team and is always welcome.” 

His words seemingly resonated with Haas team principal Guenther Steiner who went to add his reasons about the shutdown of pay drivers, “Now the constructor championship position is more important than having a driver bringing you a little bit of money,” Steiner says.

“In the old days you had teams which were financially not stable, now we’ve got 10 very solid teams here, so nobody needs to rely on a pay driver because Formula 1is in such a good spot with 10 teams which are all stable.”

While the pay driver system is indeed a drawback it has also landed us with good talents like Sergio Perez and the man of legends himself, Niki Lauda. What are your comments about these pay drivers and will Formula 1 be more talent oriented now?


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