Pic rubbishes pay driver claim

Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team in the Press Conference. Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday 1 November 2012.Former Marussia rookie and recent Caterham signing, Charles Pic has joined Sergio Perez in hitting back at the perception that a growing number of drivers on the Formula One grid are best described as ‘pay drivers’ while less well heeled drivers, with talent, are failing to step up to the pinnacle of the sport.

Some believe that drivers like Mexican Perez, backed by billionaire Carlos Slim and making the move to top team McLaren in 2013, and Frenchman Pic moved to the front of the queue due to the size of their backers’ wallets.

Pic, 22, has moved from Marussia to Caterham for 2013 and beyond, presumably in the place of the highly rated but unsponsored Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen.

Asked how long the deal is for, he told French daily Le Monde: “It’s a contract for several years – I will not be on the team only for one season. But I cannot disclose the details.”

Surely, say the cynics, the size of his backing was a key consideration as team owner Tony Fernandes and boss Cyril Abiteboul signed the paperwork.

“This is a favourite question of journalists,” said Pic. “Frankly, I don’t think it can be the only thing [that is reported]. A driver gets an offer from a team due to his performance.

“Priority is given to driver qualities; speed and racing skills. Only then is attention paid to the sponsors, and so this factor should be treated differently.”

Pic admitted, however, that money is important in F1.

“This is a part of our sport; F1 has gained in popularity through the media and is used by large companies who need to promote their brands,” he said.¬†(GMM)

Subbed by AJN.