Friday, February 13, 2009

Just sign here

(by Dave Lewandowski 2-13-09)

An open letter to Formula One drivers.

Dear sirs.

Know that IndyCar Series teams would welcome your participation in the 2009 or beyond season should you follow FIA president Max Mosley's suggestion of looking elsewhere to ply your trade.

Please note that an IndyCar Series license fee is only $1,000 (U.S.) - a bargain that includes your/three guest hard cards for venue admittance, participant accident medical insurance coverage and other benefits. There are no closing fees, user fees, points fees or even landing fees for your aircraft.

Indy Racing League management

Yeah, so the letter is fictitious; just a hopefully humorous comparison of license fees for sanctioning bodies. Mosley this week dismissed F1 drivers' protests of increased license fees, essentially telling them to go elsewhere if they don't pay the rate.

"A driver who does not want, or even cannot afford to pay for, a Formula One super license thus has many alternatives," Mosley wrote to the Grand Prix Drivers Association this week. "Apart from Formula One, there are a large number of series and championships where a professional racing driver can earn a good, sometimes very good, living."

The IndyCar Series, with its more diverse schedule and on-track competition than F1, would be such a destination. And it only costs $1,000 a year to be a member in good standing. By the way, a NASCAR license is $4,000 and the most recent Champ Car World Series license was $2,500.

Protests began before last season, when the price of a mandatory license quintupled to $12,800, while fees drivers have to pay for each championship point earned rose from $612 to $2,566. For 2009, another $514 was added to the license fee and $128 to each point fee. Additionally, a compulsory license insurance charge of $3,500 was added. An Associated Press story noted that world champion Lewis Hamilton will have to pay almost $280,000 to compete this year. Of course, the Brit hauled in more than $25 million (U.S.) in '08.

The Grand Prix Drivers Association is seeking to negotiate charges with the FIA. Mosley said future increases would follow inflation, and that the marked rise was necessary to cover safety costs.

"It seems reasonable they should make a tax-deductible contribution to the safety and running of the sport from which they benefit so greatly," Mosley said.

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