AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost has admitted that it made him laugh when he heard Lewis Hamilton had to ask who he was.
The incident being referred to is from a press conference held before the Bahrain Grand prix last year.
It was the venue where Hamilton won his fifth consecutive race.
Hamilton was asked about plans of a driver salary cap being imposed in the sport. Tost had previously remarked that “drivers should not earn more than 10 million a year and should just be happy to drive these cars”.
The interview went something like this:
Hamilton: Who said that?
Clarkson: Franz Tost.
Hamilton: Who’s that?
Clarkson: Team principal of AlphaTauri.
It is fair to say that Tost is not as easily recognisable as say Toto Wolff or Christian Horner. The 65-year-old Austrian said he was least bothered that Hamilton did not recognise him by name.
“I laughed. I don’t care if Lewis knows me or not. I am interested that there is now a commission that discusses the salary cap of drivers,” he said.
Speaking about the financial state of AlphaTauri, he said the budget cap that has been implemented for all teams this year will be a challenge.
“The problem is not the pandemic but the cap on expenses,” he said.
“This year we are under [the budget cap] but already from 2022 it will be more difficult to respect it, also because a whole new car will arrive. Care must be taken.”
The F1 Commission recently met up to discuss a salary cap for drivers. the committee was keen to include drivers in this discussion.
“As 2021 sees the introduction of a cost cap for the first time in Formula 1, various topics around controlling costs and how this overall objective can be achieved over the coming years were tabled during the meeting,” read an FIA statement.
“As part of this, a working group will be created – including the drivers themselves – to discuss the topic of driver and senior team management contracts.”