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'Pay drivers' tag is unfair claims Kaltenborn

'Pay Drivers' in Formula One is not a recent phenomenon, it's been happening for years.

Formula One is an expensive business and teams will find finances from every source possible. In a sport that costs millions to compete, the money has to be found from somewhere.

Obviously for a Formula One team the most common place for financing comes from sponsorship, but just how do you compete with the other teams in the paddock for sponsorship?

If you are McLaren or Ferrari then you're at the top end of the grid and finding sponsorships such as Santander or Vodafone is easier.

But for the likes of Williams and Sauber for example, there's a lot of competition around so how do you get the sponsorship to try and push you towards the front end of the grid? Well a driver that has talent and financial backing is going to be your best option.

At Williams they have Pastor Maldonado, the Venezuelan is a big sporting figure in his country, he's a personal friend of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and has ties to Venezuela's national oil company, PDVSA, who sponsor Williams.

Before Maldonado proved his capabilities behind the wheel winning in 2012, he was still able to provide £45million to his team through sponsorship alone.

At Sauber, last season they had Mexican driver Sergio Pérez who brought big backing through Telmex, a Mexican telecommunications company.

When Perez was snapped up by McLaren following Lewis Hamilton's move to Mercedes, Sauber not only had to fill the void left by their young and talented driver leaving, but also the hole left in their balance sheet.

So up steps Esteban Gutierrez who is the next young Mexican to come off the conveyor belt at the Mexican young driver programme funded by Escuderia Telmex.

As such he also has the talent and the backing behind him and Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn has defended that recent trend in Formula One.

All these discussions about ‘pay drivers’ have lost ground a bit for me. What we see is that many partners or sponsors support drivers from the very beginning. A good example is Sergio (Perez). 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.' she told formula1.com.

You don’t talk about pay drivers in lower series because it is normal that 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 that 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.








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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 18 2013

Time: 1:00PM

 

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