Massa rejects slashing driver wages

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The Independent Online

Felipe Massa has rejected calls for Formula One teams to slash the wages of their drivers in a bid to reduce costs.

The Ferrari driver earns an annual salary believed to be in the region of around £8m, while his Scuderia team-mate Kimi Raikkonen reputedly earns at least three times that sum.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali recently floated the idea of teams reducing driver earnings in a bid to cut expenditure in a sport that has been 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 as 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 of the teams. The more people work to reduce costs, the better it is going to be for everybody."

Another idea which had gained momentum in recent weeks was to introduce a standardised engine in an effort to drive down the annual running costs of top teams, which in 2008 was on average around the £300m mark.

The standardised engine idea 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 attempts to enforce a standard engine.

"The fight to diminish costs is important, but a standard engine gets away from what F1 is all about - and it cannot happen.

"A Ferrari running with another engine - that is not a Ferrari. It is the same for Mercedes, Toyota or Renault."