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Success comes at a price for Hamilton
January 29, 2008 12:34 IST
Lewis Hamilton [Images] will have to pay 228,000 euros ($335,700) for his licence to race in Formula One this year after forking out just 1,725 in his 2007 rookie season.
International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley confirmed on Monday that the governing body had decided to make Formula One superlicences far more expensive than in the past.
"We spend a fortune on safety and most of it is for the benefit of the drivers," Mosley told reporters at a lunch.
"A lot of the people who have otherwise been meeting the bill said 'Hang on a minute, these drivers are all earning megabucks and we are spending a fortune to try and make sure they are safe.'
"So hence the increase."
The FIA said the mandatory superlicence, which cost a basic fee of 1,725 euros last year with 456 added on for each point scored in the previous year's championship, would go up to 10,000 euros with 2,000 extra per point scored.
Hamilton won four races and scored 109 points last season to Raikkonen's 110.
The cost of his superlicence is likely to be less than a week's wages however for the 23-year-old Briton who this month agreed a revised five-year contract keeping him at McLaren to the end of 2012.
Newspapers have estimated that Formula One's first black driver, who recently moved to Switzerland [Images] for tax reasons, will earn at least 10 million pounds a year with significant additional sums in bonuses and from sponsorship.
Mosley said some drivers had written to him pointing out that they, and not the teams, paid for their licences. His response was that he had never imagined anyone else had picked up the tab.
"The thing is, if someone is earning 30 million or whatever some of them earn, it's not so bad," he said. "If you are down the back end, if you haven't got a point, it's 10,000 euros.
"To people earning their kind of money, it's not a drama. I'd settle for that, if someone said you can have 20 million if you pay 250,000 for a licence."
Mosley said the extra money raised would go "into the FIA coffers" but the governing body would also be spending far more on safety than in the past.
He also moved to reassure Hamilton after the youngster suggested last year, when he was chasing the title with a team already fined $100 million for a spying controversy, that he might be driven out of the sport by all of the 'politics'.
"I think Lewis and everybody else has to recognise that it is a complex sport," he said.
"We do our best but...there's probably between 50 and 100 modifications to each car between each pair of races and we are trying to keep on top of this and make sure nobody does something unfair.
"My advice to Lewis would be put your money in the bank, don't worry too much about it. As long as he keeps driving quick, he'll be all right."
Formula One: The Complete Coverage