Money greases the wheels for F1’s fringe men

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Oliver Brown -

Mar­cus Eric­s­son was the only For­mula One driver to race the en­tire 2017 sea­son with­out scor­ing a point. His team-mate, Pas­cal Wehrlein, man­aged five. And, yet, Alfa Romeo Sauber have dropped Wehrlein for next year.

The rea­son is that Eric­s­son owes his place in the team more to money than tal­ent. The Swede is un­der­stood to be fi­nan­cially backed by Karl-jo­han Pers­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of cloth­ing gi­ant H&M, while there have also been re­ports of his links to Long­bow Fi­nance, which bought Sauber in 2016. In­creas­ingly, the grid’s lower reaches are less than mer­i­to­cratic. Lance Stroll has a seat at Wil­liams purely be­cause his fa­ther, the bil­lion­aire fash­ion mogul Lawrence, has bankrolled his rac­ing ca­reer.

Sadly, the en­dur­ing cult of the “pay driver” is do­ing lit­tle for own­ers Lib­erty Me­dia’s in­sis­tence that F1 should be the pin­na­cle of mo­tor­sport.

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