Kaltenborn enters pay debate
Sauber team principal Monish Kaltenborn says it is time Formula One finally pulled itself together and reacted to increasing economic concerns.
Not for the first time in recent history there is growing unrest at the direction the sport is going, not least as circuits struggle to meet the financial demands of supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and as the teams towards the back of the grid take on pay drivers.
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh recently expressed his sadness at the way "the numbers have crept up" with regard to pay drivers, and that many are not good enough to be in F1.
Whitmarsh, however, further highlighted the fact the teams have collectively not done enough over time to drive a harder bargain with Ecclestone and ensure they receive a greater share of the spoils.
From Kaltenborn's perspective, she feels it is up to the teams to force down costs, thus rendering discussions about pay drivers moot.
"All these discussions about pay drivers have lost ground a bit for me," said Kaltenborn on F1's official website.
"What we see is that many partners or sponsors support drivers from the very beginning. A good example is Sergio (Perez, formerly with Sauber and at McLaren).
"He has been part of the Escuderia Telmex, which is a racing school.
"They have been supporting him from the very beginning, and it is natural that when he enters the pinnacle of motorsports, they come along.
"You have so many top drivers out there who have also brought along their partners who have supported them right from the beginning.
"You don't talk about pay drivers in lower series because it is normal a driver has partners that support him.
"So why not use the same standard in Formula One? Then you wouldn't have all these pay driver discussions.
"Sure, it would be good for Formula One to look more closely at the costs. We have to do something.
"Over the years we see the economic climate is also getting to us, and not just to the smaller teams, but the whole sport.
"In this environment we cannot expect to always have a high level of income from the commercial rights holder. We really have to find a way to react to this."
Kaltenborn readily concedes, however, it is "worrying" if experienced drivers are making way for pay drivers, as has been the case at both Caterham and Marussia over the winter.
"That would not be a good development because Formula One needs to have the best drivers and not necessarily the ones with the money," added Kaltenborn.
"But then one also has to be fair to the young drivers coming in and not immediately label them as pay drivers.
"There has always been fluctuation on the grid and nobody was harping on about pay drivers.
"Everybody who comes into Formula One is on a high level and if there are only a limited number of seats, then of course every team is looking for the best option. Who wouldn't?"
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