The FIA, which oversees Formula One, has recently announced anincrease in the maximum amount of a fine that an F1 competitor can be given.
The raise goes from around ? 250,000 ($264,000) dollars to well over one million dollars. The new higher maximum fine comes 12 years after the FIA last made a change to financial penalties. The FIA insists that the old financial penalty "does not reflect the current needs of motorsport."
A number of F1 drivers have voiced their concerns about the increasing financial penalties, especially Mercedes driver, George Russell.
As Formula One visits Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, Russell has been very critical of the move to increase the fine amount and he pointed out that most of F1 drivers don't even make that much money from their racing salaries alone. Russell slammed the price increase while talking with Motorsport.com ahead of the United States Grand Prix this weekend.
"I think it's pretty ridiculous that a driver could be fined ?1m," Russell said. "In my first year of Formula 1, I was on a five-figure salary and actually lost over six figures in that first year from paying my trainer, paying for flights, paying for an assistant. And that's probably the case for 25 percent of the grid. We're doing what we love, so we're not complaining about that. But if you take a year one driver who probably by the end of the year is losing over ?100,000 because of the investments he has to make, you fine them a million. What's going to happen?"
Russell and the other drivers have asked the FIA for more transparency on where the money from such fines will be used, but it isn't quite clear if they have an answer yet.
"If they believe a ?1m fine is worthwhile and it's going to be reinvested into the sport, then maybe one of the drivers who's being paid a lot is happy to pay that fine. But it seems obscene," Russell said.
Russell's teammate, Lewis Hamilton, is one of those F1 drivers who could easily afford the higher penalty; yet the seven-time world champion echoed Russell's assessment and hoped that the higher fines might be used to better the sport in the future.
"When it comes to things like this, we really need to be thinking the message that that sends out to those that are watching," he said.
With potential driver fines of a million dollars or more, and teams hoping to derail Andretti Global's entry into the sport in 2025 unless it pays a significantly higher entry fee than the agreed upon $200 million, it's pretty clear what message the FIA and F1 are sending...
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