Verstappen’s manager warns the FIA that a driver salary cap would be ‘illegal’

The idea of a driver salary cap has been proposed to help reduce the running costs for teams.

With inflation hitting every corner of the planet, discussions have begun as to whether the $140 million budget cap can be increased, with teams concerned that they may miss races to avoid spending over the limit.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto confirmed that these talks were taking place.

“These discussions will take time,” Binotto explained at Monaco.

“As you have to deal with the existing contracts.”

Increasing the budget cap isn’t the only idea that’s been raised, with a potential driver salary cap also being considered.

This has caused some anger in the paddock, with Max Verstappen’s manager labelling the idea as “total idiocy”.

According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the driver salary cap idea isn’t being supported by Red Bull Racing or Liberty Media.

READ: ‘We will go over’: Binotto warns Ferrari and other teams will exceed budget cap

Verstappen is one of the highest paid drivers on the grid, alongside Lewis Hamilton, making it no surprise that the Dutchman would be against an idea that would potentially see him lose millions annually.

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With the rumour of a driver salary cap growing, a spokesperson for the FIA addressed the matter.

“We have been approached by several stakeholders about this subject,” the FIA spokesperson began.

“Discussions are underway, but it is still very premature. We are going to evaluate whether it is beneficial and whether it is something for the future.

“It is not being pushed by us,” the FIA official added.

Verstappen’s manager, Raymond Vermeulen, is firmly against the idea, saying that he believes a driver salary cap means the “world is upside down”.

“Drivers increase the value of a team,” Vermeulen explained.

“This may be exploited indefinitely by the relevant team.

“But to then give whoever you buy that value from – the driver – a certain limit, it means the world is upside down,”

The idea according to the reigning World Champion’s manager is also “illegal”, with Verstappen’s camp having full support from Red Bull over the matter.

“They are also very firm that they will never support it,” he said.

“I also think it is illegal.

“Take a look at the facts. A grand prix came to the Netherlands thanks to Max. Zandvoort pays an annual amount to FOM to organise the race, a large part of which is divided among the teams. So they benefit from that.

“It would then be very strange if you were to limit only the driver’s earnings model.”

Sponsorship plays part of the reason why some drivers salaries are so large, with usually the more talented drivers attracting bigger sponsors, resulting in a larger salary.

A driver salary cap would see young stars become unable to take on as many sponsors, in order not to break the salary cap.

READ: ‘It cost me the race win’: Sainz unhappy after P2 in Monte Carlo

Vermeulen believes that the potential of a driver being on a huge salary eventually, motivates sponsors to support young drivers through the junior championships.

“That’s why I think this is a bad idea for the sport,” said Vermeulen.

“You need these investors and sponsors who invest in talent and want to be associated with that driver for a long time.

“A salary cap will affect the entire sport,” he concluded.