Former F1 driver laments the power of pay drivers in current era

Emanuele Pirro with Stefano Domenical

Emanuele Pirro with Stefano Domenical

In the wake of the announcement that Pastor Maldonado has been signed by Lotus for the 2014 season, former F1 driver and five time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro laments that pay drivers wield so much influence in the current era.

Speaking during the WEC finale in Bahrain, Pirro said, “It is sad to see that driver choices at this high level of the grid are driven by budgets. Nothing against Maldonado – he has won a grand prix – but it is sad to see that Lotus very badly wanted Nico Hulkenberg, but they couldn’t afford him.”

Maldonado is known to have a substantial budget from Venezuelan quasi-government oil giant PDVSA, which funded his foray into Formula 1 with Williams and is now backing his move to Lotus.

The 2012 Spanish GP winner is not alone as several drivers are brandishing cheque books in an effort to secure a place on the 2014 grid.

Pirro lamented, “This is something that is not right in Formula 1 today. In my day pay drivers were at the bottom of the field, but these days they are buying seats at a higher level. [Sergio] Perez brought a lot of money to McLaren and now Lotus [has] a pay driver. I don’t like to see these things.”

Italian Pirro, 51, started 37 grands prix with Benetton and Scuderia Italia between 1989 and 1991. Since then the Italian has focussed on sportscar racing, winning Le Mans in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2007 with Audi. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.


  • Ty

    Is that Ivan Capelli in the picture aswell?

  • Editor

    Yes it is