F1 Teams Vote for Salary Cap That Could Force Lewis Hamilton’s Hand

If Formula 1 teams follow through with plans to impose a salary cap, Lewis Hamilton could be looking at a major pay cut in 2023.

That is, of course, if he’s still even in the sport and adding to his championship records at that time.

According to the Daily Mail in London, F1 teams have voted to cap driver salaries at $30 million per team. That same publication is reporting that Hamilton is making about $50 million in 2020–the last year of his current contract—and Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas rakes in about $9 million.

The meeting of the teams took place at Portimao, Portugal, on Monday. The salary cap is to be confirmed at a later date by the World Motor Sport Council.

At that same meeting, a proposal for a reverse grid was shot down.

It is believed any current contracts that go beyond 2023 as well as any deals signed before salary cap is ratified would be grandfathered in. That would seem to encourage Hamilton to do one of two things. Either sign a long-term deal now—before the proposal is ratified—under the assumption that any big-money deal that went beyond 2022 would be OK, or sign a two-year deal that begins in 2021 and call it a career at the end of 2022.

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner has said in multiple reports that a salary cap should be part of Formula 1’s new $145 million budget cap era which begins in 2021. Driver salaries are not included in the budget cap that kicks in for 2021.

“If you want to spend a lot of money on a driver then you cannot do other things,” he said. “That should level the playing field even more and I think the salaries would adjust by themselves and end up lower than they are now.”

Do salary caps work in sports? Is this F1 proposal just aimed at Ferrari and Mercedes? Join in the F1 discussion below.

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