Several Formula 1 drivers have expressed their shock and surprise at the news that the FIA is set to raise the highest possible amount a driver can be fined, with George Russell highly critical of the change.
The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council published a number of decisions after meeting in Geneva, and the one that caught the eye most for the F1 paddock ahead of the 2023 United States Grand Prix in Austin was news that drivers could face fines of up to €1million – up from €250,000.
It’s news that, perhaps unsurprisingly, got several drivers talking as they received it on media day in Austin, with very few unaware of the decision prior to being asked by the press.
F1 drivers react to potential of €1million fines
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said: “If they are going to fine one million, let’s makes sure that 100 per cent of that goes to a good cause.”
Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, labelled the big money fine as ‘scary,’ whilst both Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc questioned what you would have to do to be fined such an amount, citing the €50,000 sanction the Dutchman was handed for touching Hamilton’s rear wing at the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.
George Russell, meanwhile, was particularly punchy in his criticisms of the step from the sport’s governing body.
“I think it’s pretty ridiculous that a driver could be fined €1m,” said the Brit.
“In my first year of Formula 1, I was on a five-figure salary and actually lost over six figures in that first year from paying for my trainer, paying for flights, paying for an assistant. And that’s probably the case for 25 percent of the grid.
“We’re doing what we love, so we’re not complaining about that. But if you take a year one driver who probably by the end of the year is losing over 100,000 because of the investments he has to make, you fine them a million. What’s going to happen?”
As for the FIA, they sought to justify the rise in saying that it had not been reviewed in over a decade.
“The ISC (International Sporting Code) had previously determined that the maximum fine amount that the stewards can impose is €250,000,” the FIA said in a statement.
“This amount has not been reviewed nor amended for at least the last 12 years and does not reflect the current needs of motorsport.”