Vettel: 'Wild' costs of junior categories need to be cut

Sebastian Vettel says the spiralling expense of competing in junior categories before Formula 1 needs to be slashed, because the situation has become ‘wild’.

Vettel: 'Wild' costs of junior categories need to be cut

The issue of high costs in junior categories was raised recently by Lewis Hamilton, who told Spanish publication AS that F1 had become a ‘billionaire boys’ club’.

He added: “If I were to start over from a working-class family, it would be impossible for me to be here today because the other boys would have a lot more money.

“We have to work to change that and make this an accessible sport, for the rich and for people with more humble origins.”

Vettel concurs that things have now got out of control and reckons that if he were starting his career right now, he would find it very difficult to make his way up the motor racing ladder.

“There's not a quick fix, but ultimately, the costs are too high,” explained the Aston Martin driver.

“In all honesty, if I look back to when I started, costs were lower, but they were still high.

“I mean I was very fortunate. I had [backer] Mr Gerhard Noack looking after me, who was the same man who looked after Michael [Schumacher] when he started, probably 20 years before me as a young child.

“It was already very, very expensive back then, so I think Michael was in need of help, and I was in need, because I couldn't afford it. I think the first season we did in very junior go karts, we managed sort of do half on our own and then we started to be very lucky to find people that supported and helped us.

“I think since then, the world has changed. I think sponsoring has changed. And probably the readiness to invest money in young kids and motor sport has changed as well. So, in short, it has always been tricky.

“I don't think it will be a quick fix, but there are certain things that could be addressed to try and make the sport more accessible for all types of backgrounds and all children. It is an expensive hobby, no matter which way you look at it. But certainly it's gone wild in the last years, and got way too expensive.”

Read Also:

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff recently said that stakeholders needed to do more to ensure that motor racing did not just become the domain of rich people.

“What I think we can do is make sure that grassroots racing becomes more affordable, so kids that haven’t got any financial background can actually be successful in the junior formulas,” he said.

“All the big Formula 1 teams [need to be] able to identify those kids, rather than making it so expensive that a good go-karting season costs $250,000, an F4 season £500,000, and an F3 season $1 million.

“That is totally absurd, [and] needs to stop, because we want to have access. I think we need to give access to kids that are interested in go-karting, the opportunity to race for much more affordable budgets.”

shares
comments

Related video

Alonso felt he was "losing time" in F1 before taking break

Previous article

Alonso felt he was "losing time" in F1 before taking break

Next article

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool
Load comments
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt Prime

The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming.

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021