FIA president defends enormous EUR 1m driver fines
"Teams are now in the billions in terms of value"
Mohammed Ben Sulayem has defended the FIA’s decision to crank up the maximum financial penalties for Formula 1 drivers to an incredible EUR 1 million.
The news broke ahead of the recent US GP, where drivers reacted with astonishment to learn that the maximum penalty had been multiplied by a factor of four.
"I mean, some drivers are making less than that," Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc said.
Mercedes’ George Russell, also a top official at the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, added that his main concern is that he has had "no response" as to what the FIA would even do with EUR 1m fines.
Faced with that criticism, FIA president Ben Sulayem said the money is always put into "grassroots" motor racing or is "reinvested in the sport".
And he said it’s important that the size of the fines in Formula 1 is reflective of the skyrocketing value of the sport.
"Teams are now in the billions in terms of value," the Spanish sports newspaper quotes the FIA president as saying.
"We hadn’t improved our standards that went back to Jurassic Park," Ben Sulayem joked.
"And we’re not saying ’go and pay it’. We’re saying follow the rules. If you do, nothing will happen. Nobody will impose anything on you.
"People are exaggerating too much about this," he added. "What I hope is that the fines make life easier for the stewards, with the drivers obeying the rules instead of misbehaving.
"Obviously we don’t want anyone to reach that 1 million number, so we tell them not to do it. The rules are there and they are transparent.
"But I can’t tell you why someone would get a million (fine). That’s not up to the president. But the FIA has to have the power to implement the rules and govern."
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