(GMM) Formula 1 drivers have reacted with astonishment to the news that they stand to be fined as much as EUR 1,000,000 by the governing FIA.
Previously, the upper limit for financial penalties for infractions was just EUR 250,000.
“Then maybe we can also sponsor the bottles of wine (on the podium),” joked world champion Max Verstappen.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc added: “I mean, some drivers are making less than that.”
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen joked: “Charles can give his watch – but I would disappear, never to be found again.”
Seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton was fined EUR 50,000 last time out in Qatar for crossing the live track following his first-lap crash.
And he warned the FIA that he might refuse to pay an even bigger fine.
“If they are going to be fining people a million, let’s make sure 100 percent of that goes to a cause. That’s the only way they’ll get that million from me,” said the Mercedes driver.
The drivers’ reaction only amplifies suggestions of a growing rift between them and F1’s governing body, with Grand Prix Drivers’ Association boss George Russell saying they were not consulted about the “obscene” maximum penalty.
“It needs to be invested in grassroots but so far we’ve had no response on where that’s going,” the British driver said in Austin.
“There’s a lot greater global issues going on and so much poverty around the world – so how can a federation make up these fines? I don’t know of any sport or profession outside of the corporate world where you can be fined that amount.”
Hamilton also blasted the FIA after the Mohammed Ben Sulayem-led body said it was going to review his EUR 50,000 penalty because of his status as a role-model to young drivers.
“No, I don’t think I was singled out,” he said. “The FIA just need to speak to their PR agent to do a better job.”