Financial demands that some Formula 1 teams are asking from drivers are ‘out of control’, claims ousted Sauber racer Adrian Sutil.
Sauber has opted to replace Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez with Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson for 2015 – with both the team’s new drivers arriving with generous sponsorship backing.
Asked if he felt budgets were becoming more important than talent, Sutil said that while pay drivers had always been a factor in F1 he felt the current situation was now extreme.
“The budgets some drivers are paying for a year are out of control,” he told AUTOSPORT.
“This is not the way it should be.
“It has always been a problem, and it’s always more or less been like this.
“There were small teams 20 or 30 years ago where you could buy yourself a cockpit. Now there are less of them and maybe it’s more obvious.
“This is something that may never change in Formula 1, but we can make it a little more balanced.
“I remember when Minardi or Arrows were in Formula 1 and were still more or less profitable. And there were maybe a few drivers with sponsorship, but this was not the priority.
“It would be good to have this [situation] back, and then maybe you could call it a sport again.
“Right now, it’s hard to say what it is.”
While teams under financial pressure have criticised F1’s revenue distribution and the costs of the 2014 rules package, Sutil said they had to share responsibility for their economic fortunes.
“First of all I think a few teams maybe have to do their job a little bit better to make things profitable,” he said.
“Or on the other side, maybe there’s something wrong in the system.
“I don’t know the internal details, but there are some teams that manage to be in Formula 1 and make it profitable. It’s not a problem, they have sponsors, and they can live with it. Some don’t have and they are struggling a lot.
“I’m just a driver, so I don’t really know why it’s so out of balance. But it shouldn’t be like this because it’s still a big sport.”