The Return of the Pay-Driver

October 14, 2009

Minardi were famous for their use of Pay Drivers - which included one F.Alonso

Minardi were famous for their use of Pay Drivers - which included one F.Alonso

Things are still very fluid in the driver market. Although some key players (Alonso, Kubica) have now firmed up their plans for 2010, there are still quite a few places left to fill, and of course it is not yet clear how many teams will really be on the grid next year. Even by F1 standards there is a lot of uncertainty as to how things will pan out.

The denials of Barrichello and Rosberg, regarding the rumours on the Brazilian media that a switch is imminent, appear to confirm that the revitalized Barrichello will go to Williams and Rosberg will cement the Mercedes/Brawn marriage by providing a German driver (by passport anyway) for the three-pointed star. But many of the others are wide open. The website has an interesting piece on the potential funds that some of the new drivers could be bringing to teams – this could be a real clincher in today’s difficult times. I remember Paul Jordan, the former Commerical Director at Minardi, explaining to me how they treated drivers as sponsors as a significant proportion of their revenue would come from their drivers. It seems that the pay-driver is making a comeback in 2010.

According to the league table of pay-drivers for next year is as follows:

1)      Vitaly Petrov (Russian)Euro 15 million (Current rumours: Campos, Manor, Lotus)

2)      Bruno Senna (Brazilian) Euro 10 million (Current rumours: Campos)

3)      Lucas di Grassi (Brazilian) Euro 7 million

4)      Nelsinho Piquet Jr (Brazilian) Euro 5 million

5)      Sergio Perez (Mexican) Euro 5 million

6)      Pastor Maldonado (Venezuelan) Euro 5 million

7)      Fairuz Fauzy (Malaysian) Unknown (Current rumours: Lotus)

8)      Adam Carroll (Irish) Unknown (Current rumours: Manor)

Although the pay-driver tag is a bit of stigma, let’s not forget that both Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso started this way. I wonder if we have anyone of their quality in this eight.

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