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Schmidt's F1 blog: Formula 1 in the intensive care unit

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K imi Raikkonen played Ayrton Senna. The Lotus pilot only traveled to Abu Dhabi at the last minute to blackmail his team. Raikkonen finally wants to see money. He's still waiting for his fee for this season.

Senna has already been on strike

Ayrton Senna did the same with McLaren in 1993. He asked for a million dollars per GP start. When the money did not reach his account in time before the race in Imola, he was left sitting on his packed suitcase in Sao Paulo. Team principal Ron Dennis paid grudgingly. Senna arrived in Imola ten minutes before the start of training.

A funny story? Back then yes. Because it was an isolated incident. But today there is not only Raikkonen. If the Finn doesn't get any money, so will his teammate Romain Grosjean. Nico Hülkenberg is still waiting for part of his 2012 fee from Force India. And he only got an eighth of his salary at Sauber. One can assume that Esteban Gutierrez is no better. Something similar is said of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta. The Force India pilots are also waiting for money. It cannot be said how high the number of unreported cases is of those who are waiting for money. Nobody likes to talk about the topic.

Teams forced to pay drivers

Probably only the drivers from Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and ToroRosso have a safe living. Can the others be blamed? Competition has become a voracious octopus. Lotus competes with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, and actually can't afford it. Because it costs at least 170 million euros to maintain this level.

Sauber, Force India and Williams have to calculate with at least 100 million euros to compete with Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso. They are the only ones in midfield that have no financial worries. This forces a large number of teams to pay drivers or to pay bills only at the last minute or with a long delay. Always in the hope that the big sponsor can still be found. It is a dangerous game for time.

The money is not distributed fairly

Nico Hulkenberg is annoyed that someone like Pastor Maldonado is running around with 40 million euros and probably him steals the place at Lotus. But Maldonado is not Hulkenberg's problem. If the Venezuelan didn't exist, another Maldonado would be ready. Vitaly Petrov to theExample that is said to have 30 million from Gazprom. Or Max Chilton, who brings $ 12 million from the box of an insurance giant in which his father is a board member. Or Kevin Magnussen, whose signing to Force India would mean seven million debt relief. Allegedly, McLaren puts the same amount on top of it if their junior driver gets a place.

The problem with Formula 1 is completely different. It has become way too expensive for no reason and the money is not distributed fairly. Red Bull and Ferrari will get three times as much money as Lotus next year from Bernie Ecclestones cake thanks to special payments. Is that fair with the job that Lotus does on the racetrack? Williams collects a bonus payment of nine million dollars regardless of the World Cup position. The direct competitors Sauber, Toro Rosso and Force India look into the tube. What is the point of making the rich richer and richer and leaving the poor poor?

No interest in surprises

Bernie Ecclestone says he will reward those who gave him a written guarantee through 2020. And these are Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Williams. If the around 800 million dollars were poured out more fairly and Formula 1 could bring itself to an effective cost brake, then all eleven teams could have given a guarantee for the next seven years.

But the big teams don't want to save. Because in this way they protect themselves from unwanted competition. They are not interested in a small team landing a surprise victory. Teams like Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes want to win every race. There would be nothing wrong with doing it on the basis of fair competition. But they don't. It is more convenient for them to use privileges to ensure clear relationships. You only have yourself in view and not the sport. Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren have to upgrade to catch up with Red Bull. Red Bull has to upgrade to keep the lead.

Top teams do not recognize the seriousness of the situation

Ein A team like Lotus, which has the quality to be up front, has to get out at some point because it can no longer afford this arms race. It's a spiral that breaks the sport. The real gravedigger of Formula 1 are the top teams and their inability to recognize the true condition of the formula patient. He's been in the intensive care unit for a long time. So it might be a good thing that someone like Raikkonen doesn't get any money. Because his problem makes the crisis visible. And because it could be a wake up call to change things. The last alarm, so to speak.

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