FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has attempted to justify why the maximum penalty in Formula 1 has been quadrupled. Drivers can now be fined €1million (£870,000) if found guilty of a serious offence, though there have been no further details released on what type of incident would prompt such a mammoth fine.
The FIA World Motor Sport Council announced last month that they had decided to increase the maximum penalty significantly from €250,000. Several drivers spoke out on the matter, with many confused by the lack of clarity over what would justify such a penalty.
Quadrupling the maximum fine so quickly was also labelled ‘obscene’ by some and criticised by several drivers, who believed that the figure is now unreasonable. However, Ben Sulayem has attempted to explain why the organisation has taken the decision to change the rules.
He told Speedcafe: “The price of everything has gone up. The teams are now talking about billions in terms of what each team is worth, and we’ve still not improved our regulations dating back to Jurassic Park.
“We are not saying ‘go and pay’. We are saying ‘Don’t make these unnecessary penalties’. If you don’t do it, you won’t get it. Nobody will impose something on you if you follow the rules. The rules are there to be policed and to be implemented.”
Ben Sulayem was then asked about what would prompt the FIA to hand out a €1m fine, though the chief felt that only stewards would be able to truly answer that question. Lewis Hamilton made it clear after the rule change was announced that he would only ever pay such a significant fee to the FIA if he felt that the funds would be put to good use – otherwise, he would not pay the maximum penalty.
“When it comes to things like this, we really need to be thinking with the message that sends out to those that are watching,” the Mercedes star explained. “If they are going to be fining a million, let’s make sure that 100 per cent of that goes to a cause.
“There’s a lot of money in this whole industry and there’s a lot more that we need to do in terms of creating better accessibility, better diversity, more opportunities for people who don’t normally have a chance to get into the spotlight. There are so many causes around the world. That’s the only way they’ll get that million from me.”