Date:Wednesday September 9 2015
Former Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber has slammed the current crop of pay drivers in Formula One.
The Australian was often outspoken when he was still a driver in F1, but since retiring from Formula One in 2013 and switching to the World Endurance Championship he now has even fewer reasons to hold back on his views.
Formula One has always been an expensive sport, the big teams at the front of the grid can fund their venture through global sponsorship deals as success breeds success.
The manufacturers like Ferrari and Mercedes also have big budgets, just as long as the board behind them supports them.
But for the other teams, sourcing the vast amounts needed to compete with the seemingly endless pit of money the big teams have is a virtual impossible task.
For this reason there have always been an element of 'pay drivers' in Formula One, a driver with substantial financial backing through sponsors to aid a team.
The most obvious example of this in Formula One in 2015 is Pastor Maldonado, on talent alone it's difficult to justify his position on the grid.
But with the backing of Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA, the Venezuelan has enjoyed five years in the sport, started 88 Grand Prix and has even won a race.
The sheer amount of backing the 30-year-old boasts means that he has been able to pick and choose who to drive for in the past with Williams and Lotus.
Whilst Webber made it clear that Maldonado is not the only driver who he believes is undeserving of a place on the grid, he did also have a few comments about Maldonado directly.
'We know we've got quality at the front, but I just still think there's the swing of the financial drivers, who are coming to basically decide what teams they want to go to, and also if they're going to stay there,' he told Sky Sports Midweek Report programme.
'Pastor, for example, saying 'I haven't made my decision yet where I'm going'. What other sports work like that? If you're not performing, mate, on your bike, get out of here.
'There have always been commercially-driven drivers on the grid in F1, don't get me wrong, but in '02 when I started, or 2010, even mid-90s, I just think there was a sniff more depth in there because there were more chances for the guys who have got the runs on the board [in feeder series] to get in there purely on results and not with a government behind you supporting you.'
'We used Pastor as an example - there's a few of them who shouldn't be there.'
The programme is yet to air on Sky Sports but certainly looks like its worth a watch, particularly as GP2 Champion Jolyon Palmer is the other guest.
The British driver is the kind of racer who Webber refers to as someone who in the past would be on the grid, however equally Maldonado is a current team-mate of Palmer as he is a reserve driver at Lotus.
Date:Wednesday September 9 2015
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