Formula One drivers were taken aback recently when the FIA, the sport’s governing body, announced a significant increase in the potential fines faced by drivers. The new regulations allow for fines of up to one million euros ($1.06 million), a substantial increase from the previous maximum of 250,000 euros. This change, approved during a meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council in Geneva, comes after over a decade without any revisions to the fine structure.
Drivers React to the Hefty Fines
George Russell, a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association and a driver for Mercedes, expressed his disbelief at the new fine limit, calling it “obscene”. He reminisced about his early days in Formula One, where his earnings were significantly less, making such fines daunting. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Haas driver Kevin Magnussen also expressed their concerns, with Magnussen humorously suggesting he’d vanish if faced with such a fine.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes’ seven-time world champion, who recently faced a $50,000 fine in Qatar, was unaware of the new regulations. He suggested that any such hefty fines should be directed towards charitable causes, emphasizing the need for better accessibility and diversity in the sport. Max Verstappen, the Red Bull driver and now-triple world champion, humorously questioned the fine amounts, referencing a previous fine he received for touching another car’s rear wing.
Historical Context of F1 Fines
Formula One is no stranger to hefty fines. In 2007, McLaren faced a staggering $100 million fine in a spying controversy, although the final amount paid was halved. Red Bull also faced a $7 million fine last year for breaching the sport’s cost cap.
A Call for Clarity
The recent changes have sparked discussions among drivers and teams. George Russell emphasized the need for transparency and understanding, expressing concerns about the seemingly arbitrary nature of the fine amounts.