Formula 1 News

Force India chief warns against pay drivers

Vijay Mallya is not the first to express his concern over the issue.
Thursday, September 5, 2013

MONZA, Italy, Sept 05, 2013 (AFP) - Force India team chief Vijay Mallya has warned Formula One bosses that handing race seats to 'pay drivers' is bad for the sport and sends the wrong signal.

Mallya, who co-owns the Silverstone-based outfit, said he does not believe in recruiting drivers purely based on what kind of budget they can bring the team in advertising revenue.

On the eve of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where many deals are completed, he said: "It sends a very wrong signal to the team to take pay drivers -- I always consult my engineers and the technical director on the selection of drivers.

"This was particularly true for 2013 when we had a choice of two and finally we went with Adrian Sutil. That was largely because the key technical people in the team said 'let's go with him'.

"I did not want them to feel that all the efforts in producing a competitive car were going to be compromised on track because I had chosen a driver who wasn't the best available drivers.

"I've not gone with pay drivers, I've gone with drivers of talent and that policy will stay."

It is understood that Sutil brought a small sponsorship package with him to the team, but his talent and performance led to him being recruited ahead of then-rookie Frenchman Jules Bianchi.

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