Driver salaries are currently not included in F1’s $140m budget cap for 2022, but there is growing talk of pressure to introduce a salary cap for drivers in coming years.
At the Monaco Grand Prix, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso questioned the timing of a possible salary cap as F1 is “demanding more and more” of drivers to help promote the world championship.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Verstappen – who recently signed a lucrative new deal to keep him at Red Bull until at least 2028 – made it clear he doesn’t think a driver cap is a path F1 should take.
“It’s still a bit vague,” Verstappen said. “I don’t think anyone really knows where this is going to lead us but from my side, it’s completely false.
“I think at the moment F1 is becoming more and more popular and everyone is making more and more money, including the teams and the FOM. Everyone is benefiting from it, so why are the drivers, with their intellectual property rights and everything, should they be capped?
“We actually bring the show and put our lives on the line, because we do, eventually. So for me, it’s completely wrong.
Verstappen also highlighted concerns over how such a move could have a ripple effect on young drivers looking for the support needed to help them reach F1.
“Also, in all the junior categories, if you see how many drivers have a sponsor or support that will have a certain percentage of their income in F1 or whatever,” he said.
“I think that’s going to limit that a lot because they’ll never get their cash back and if you get a cap it’ll hurt all the junior categories as well and I don’t think you want that.”
McLaren’s Lando Norris agreed with Verstappen.
“I think Max explained it very well, I think mainly because I probably didn’t have to think about it as much as he did,” he added.
“I think what he said is correct, especially the investment part in young drivers. It’s hard enough to get into F1, so as soon as you have support or investment as a driver, they obviously want their money back at some point.
“Obviously if that’s capped it’s much more difficult or will be of much less interest to people to invest in young drivers and to invest in people with a chance of getting into F1 in the first place.”