Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel is not a huge fan of the financial strain on young racing drivers getting into karting.
It takes a lot of financial backing to start out in karting, with the cost of entering championships, owning a kart, buying fuel and travelling to races taking a lot of money out of parents’ banks.
When those drivers do make it up into the junior Formulae, it takes millions to fund seasons in Formula 2 and Formula 3, and that is after thousands have already been spent getting up through the lower single seater series.
Money is part of the reason that different nationalities will make their way in and out of Formula 1, as well as the simple fact that, for example, there happens to be more French stars now, than there was 11 years ago.
Germany, too, had as many as five drivers on the grid as recently as 2012, but Vettel is retiring at the end of the season, while Mick Schumacher’s future is in doubt.
That means next year, for the first time in over 40 years, there could be no German involvement in the pinnacle of motorsport, if the 23-year-old cannot find another seat, or renew his deal with Haas.
There has been no German Grand Prix since 2019, and F1 has not visited the country since 2020 when it used the Nürburgring for the Eifel Grand Prix during the COVID-affected year.
Vettel feels that this fluctuation of nationalities being in the sport is normal.
“You know, there’s no guarantee that you have German drivers or a driver of a specific nationality on the grid,” he said, quoted by Motorsport Week.
“I think it goes in cycles and we had, at some point, nearly half the grid German drivers, like seven or eight or six, I don’t remember, and now, next year, it might be down to one.”
“I remember that a lot of people from the French media were asking, there’s no French drivers, where are the French drivers?
“Now we have a couple of French drivers, and yeah so I think naturally it goes in cycles.”
The four-time world champion urged the powers that be in motorsport to try and make it more accessible to young aspiring racers, as the costs at the moment, are simply too high.
“Motorsport has gotten more and more expensive, I think if I had to start, if I was seven again today, I’m not sure I would make it just because you need to have the financial backing at a very, very early age,” added Vettel.
“It has turned into an elite sport, hopefully we’re taking the right actions, especially through go-karts to make it more affordable.
“There has been too much money around and too much money being thrown at the manufacturers and different dealers and teams, so it’s hard to blame them, they need to make their living and survive as well.”
An excess of spending has certainly applied to F1 too, over the years, with teams, particularly at the top, spending obscene amounts of cash in a bid to compete and win races.
The $145 million cap has helped with that and should, theoretically, make things more competitive.
“Motorsport has become… I don’t know how to change that but too professional, and with professionalism there’s also the financial aspect,” explained Vettel.
“I mean, look at Formula 1, now we have the budget cap to try and counter that but there was no limit before we entered that era, where we are in today, and teams were spending more money than they had and that’s for all the teams.”
Vettel is set to be replaced next season by Fernando Alonso, and Schumacher has been linked with the subsequent vacant seat at Alpine.