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Can someone explain the "pay to drive" scheme?

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by 4Webers, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. 4Webers

    4Webers Formula Junior

    Nov 12, 2003
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    Darrell
    The top drivers like MS are obviously paid big money to drive, while other drivers like Zsolt have to raise money and pay the team for a drive. These guys are at opposite ends of the F1 driver spectrum, but what about guys in the middle - how is it decided whether they get paid by the team, or have to pay the team to drive? Is it based purely on talent, or is it only something the lower teams do, based on lack of money?

    just curious...
     
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  3. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Sep 3, 2002
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    Rob C.
    Talent does not go nearly as far as people woul like to think. Mid-pack teams make driver decisions many times on 2 factors outside the skill of the driver:

    1. Their nationality plays a BIG role in satisfying existing or soon to be team sponsorts.

    2. The contacts that the driver and or his mangement has. Takuma Sato is doing great this year but the fact is he would not have been even thought of if it were not for his very strong ties with Honda.

    Even a would be great needs to pay their way in and it has been that way for some time now. MS had to pay just over 100K in 1991 for his first Jordan drive. The tab was picked up by Mercedes and then TicTac. Off the top of my head, the only driver in the field right now that did not pay for his initial F1 drive was Montoya. Then again he came with a Champ Car title, Indy 500 win and huge 'American' Pull for Williams sponsors.
     
  4. imperial83

    imperial83 F1 Rookie
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    May 14, 2004
    2,892
    Ok the current pay drivers to the best of my knowledge are:
    Takuma Sato: Funded and sponsored by Honda to drive for BAR
    Giorgio Pantano: Pay driver for Jordan
    Gianmaria Bruni: Pay driver for Minardi
    Zsolt Baumgartner: Pay driver for Minardi

    Here is how this "pay to drive" scheme works:
    1. Cash strapped teams like Jordan and Minardi have to find ways of bringing in revnue to stay in F1.
    2. They look for drivers that have the capability of driving F1 cars and are willing to pay a certain amount of money to secure an F1 seat.
    3. The drivers are able to debut in F1, make a name for themseleves and the cash strapped team has a source of revenue. For example, it is rumored that Pantono brought about $10 million to the table for Jordan in the form of cash and sponsorship money. This amount has probably been inflated by the media.

    In the case of Takuma Sato, you see the dirty aspect of F1 politics coming into play. Honda is a huge sponsor of BAR providing them with funds, engine and other engineering assistance. Honda would therefore prefer a Japanese driver to capitalize on the marketing aspect of F1. So they provide further funding to BAR in return for allowing a Japanese driver on board. Sato also was a pay driver through personal funding and sponsorship when he first joined the cash strapped Jordan outfit.
     
  5. ferrari sulla pellicola

    ferrari sulla pellicola Formula Junior

    Jun 21, 2004
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    Richard
    usually means the driver has membership in the "lucky sperm club",and except in rare situations when race results are listed those same drivers names will mostly be followed by DNF
     
  6. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Sep 3, 2002
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    Rob C.
    The current crop of pay drivers is bigger than you think:

    Giancarlo Fisichella brings money in the form of Italian sponsors who back him and not the team. Fissi would not have a ride without them...period.

    Christian Klien brings huge RedBull money and ousted Justin Wilson who had money but not as much as Klien

    Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso are both property of Flavio Briatore and the Telefonica sponsorship on the Renault is only because of Alonso. Not to say these guys are full pay drivers but it is fair to say that they are not in 'hot' demand.

    Filippe Massa brings cash
     
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  8. 4Webers

    4Webers Formula Junior

    Nov 12, 2003
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    Darrell
    Very interesting, thanks everyone for the info. It seems to me that Jordan, Minardi, etc have basically resigned themselves to bottom-feeders with this system, unless they get incredibly lucky and find an unproven driver who happens to turn into a great driver.
     
  9. GrigioGuy

    GrigioGuy Splenda Daddy
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    Nov 26, 2001
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    Dindu Nuffin
    Actually, I think you have the cause/effect reversed. Because Minardi, etc are non-competitive teams with budget problems, they have to take on the pay-to-play drivers to stay in the game.

    I just wish I had won that $270 million lotto a few weeks back, you'd be seeing me puttering around in the back of the pack :D
     
  10. 4Webers

    4Webers Formula Junior

    Nov 12, 2003
    276
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    Darrell
    Not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg, but it's definitely a bad cycle they are in.

    I would need to save a few of those $270M's for a nice casket though... :)
     

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