As Formula 1 teams debate the need to increase the current budget cap, the FIA is considering introducing a salary cap for drivers, which is currently not part of the teams' budget restrictions. Fernando Alonso has questioned this move, saying that the drivers should not be penalised owing to their contribution to popularising the sport globally.

The 10 F1 teams have been given a budget of $140 million for the current campaign, with the amount set to be reduced by a further $5 million in 2023. The likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin Racing among others, have implored the FIA to reconsider their stance and accept a proposal to increase the budget owing to inflation and rising freight charges.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has gone as far as suggesting that smaller teams could end up missing races if they are not allowed to spend more, while top teams will have to stop developing their cars. F1 teams with smaller budgets like Alfa Romeo and Williams are happy with the budget cap, as they feel the lack of development will pull them closer to the top cars.

The $140 million development budget, however, does not include driver salaries, which has allowed the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes to pay their drivers in excess of $40 million per season. The FIA is now considering introducing a salary cap that will restrict how much a driver earns.

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso won the Formula One title with Renault in 2005 and again in 2006 AFP / MARK RALSTON

Alonso feels it is unfair on the F1 governing body's part to limit a driver's earnings. The Spaniard, a two-time Drivers' champion, believes they should be given the freedon to earn as much as they can since they are complying with every demand made by the FIA to promote the sport.

Moreover, the drivers are putting themselves at risk in the car, while also having to accept FIA's need to continue extending the length of the season by adding more races. The off-season for F1 drivers is getting considerably shorter as the years progress, with 2023 again expected to have 23 or 24 races.

"I don't think it's needed," Alonso said, as quoted on "Drivers have been always outside this topic, and I think the drivers, they are using us more and more to promote Formula 1. We do more and more events we are more in contact with the fans."

"They are asking more and more from us and they are benefiting from that. So we should be outside from that cap. It's very complicated."

Alonso is unlikely to be the only driver to voice his opinion on the matter. Lewis Hamilton has also questioned the need for a salary cap, while other drivers are expected to follow suit when the discussions get underway.

Lewis Hamilton
'Mind-blowing': Lewis Hamilton celebrates his win at the Russian Grand Prix POOL / Yuri Kochetkov