Felipe Massa has rejected calls for Formula One teams to slash the wages of their drivers to try to reduce costs.
The Ferrari driver is believed to earn around £8m a year, while his Scuderia team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is reputedly paid at least three times that sum. Ferrari's sporting director, Stefano Domenicali, recently floated the idea of teams reducing driver earnings to cut expenditure in a sport acutely affected by the global economic downturn and has already lost one of its prime movers with the withdrawal of Honda earlier this month.
However, Domenicali's views are not shared by Massa, who finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton in this year's drivers' championship. "I'm not inclined to it," Massa said when quizzed about the plan at a Unicef press conference in his native Brazil.
"In a competitive sport like this, the driver plays a fundamental part, and the cost of the drivers are small compared to the total budget. The more people work to reduce costs, the better it is going to be for everybody." Another idea is a standardised engine to cut top teams' costs, which in 2008 were on average around the £300m mark. The proposal was watered down recently when the major manufacturers agreed to run with restricted power units from 2010 rather than with engines from an independent supplier, a move welcomed by Massa.
"I do not find this idea interesting," Massa said of the standard engine formula. "A standard engine gets away from what F1 is all about. A Ferrari running with another engine – that is not a Ferrari."