F1 driver issues warning about going into debt

A Formula 1 driver has issued a warning about being forced into debt ahead of this weekend's 2023 US Grand Prix.

Alex Albon has insisted that some drivers could enter debt if slapped with the new maximum fine of €1 million, which has been announced by the FIA World Motor Sport Council ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

Previously, the maximum the stewards could fine a driver is €250,000; however, this figure has now been increased four times to a staggering €1 million.

This has already been massively criticised by the drivers, with Lewis Hamilton having called for the money from a driver forced to pay the fine to go to a “cause”, rather than the FIA’s pocket.

Albon has since admitted that some drivers could “get into debt” if fined the maximum amount, given that some drivers for the first few years of their career don’t even earn over €1 million.

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The Williams driver has noted that people think some drivers earn more than they do, with the fine quite literally being life changing for some if presented with it.

“I think people wouldn’t realise, especially the first two, three years, four years of being a Formula 1 driver, the salaries are nothing like what people actually think they are,” Albon said, as reported by RaceFans.net.

“It would be a tough fine if you were to get into debt for it.”

What a driver has to do to be fined €1 million hasn’t been announced, with it only applying to Formula 1.

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F1 is already an incredibly expensive sport to compete in, both for the teams and the drivers.

All the drivers actually have to pay the FIA annually to enter the championship, with their superlicence needing to be paid for every season.

The drivers therefore pay the governing body a six-figure sum every year even before racing gets underway, something Albon believes is unusual for a sport.

“We already pay our superlicence fees, which are already extremely expensive,” he pointed out.

“I don’t know a sport where you have to pay yourself to enter it. I think that in itself seems a little bit different to most sports.”

Going back to the maximum fine being increased to €1 million, Albon wonders if it’s been done by the FIA to target “three or four drivers”, given how few could even afford it.

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Hamilton and Max Verstappen earn the most in the sport by some margin and have been fined by the governing body at times over recent years.

Hamilton was fined £34,700 as recently as the Qatar Grand Prix, after crossing a live circuit.

“In the end, if they’re going to raise that to a million, then they’re in some ways targeting three or four drivers because no-one else could actually afford that,” Albon insisted.