With yesterday’s entirely unsurprising news that Williams has signed Pastor Maldonado (and his multi-millions), we can add another “pay driver” to next year’s Formula 1 ranks.
By my count — and I’m not claiming I have this 100% right, so feel free to point out any errors — we now have the following sponsored drivers at the ready: Michael Schumacher (I’m kidding!), Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez. Other potentials are both Toro Rosso drivers (neither Jaime Alguersuari or Sebastian Buemi are officially back, though we expect them to be, and haven’t we all determined they are pay drivers?); the second Renault spot (Vitaly Petrov), Karun Chandhok and whoever ends up in one or more seats at Virgin and HRT, and maybe even Force India. Who am I forgetting?
It’s easily a third of the grid that isn’t there entirely on merit. Does anyone have a sense if that would be an all-time high (given the growing hand-wringing on this issue)?
But that’s not actually our question today. Instead, we are wondering Your View: Is there a pay driver who deserves a seat on merit? (Or are they all too new for us to judge?)