Complaints about so-called pay drivers have reached a cacophonous level bordering on hysteria. Against a backdrop of Formula 1's financial troubles, many teams have quite legitimately had to ensure that one or both of their drivers guarantees a chunk of sponsorship to make up a budget shortfall, or in some cases keeps them going altogether.
While pay drivers have been a fact of life throughout the history of the sport, their prevalence can become corrosive. Fortunately, while there are some drivers not on the grid who unquestionably should be ahead of a few of those who are, the overall standard is still high.
But there's no guarantee that F1's money troubles have bottomed out, and steps need to be taken to ensure that the level doesn't deteriorate dramatically. This can be achieved through a transformation in the attitude both the FIA and F1 have towards the Superlicence that any driver running in an official session must hold.
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Edd Straw is Editor-in-Chief of Autosport, overseeing both print and digital versions of the brand. Edd has worked for Autosport since joining as a junior reporter in 2002. He became Editor in November 2014, having previously worked as National Editor, News Editor and Grand Prix Editor.
Originally from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, he joined Autosport shortly after graduating from university. He went on to cover a wide range of categories from club motorsport to the World Touring Car Championship and Le Mans to Formula 3 before switching to F1 full-time at the 2008 French Grand Prix. He continues to cover a range of international events in his position as Editor-in-Chief.
In his spare time, he was formerly a club racer whose abilities did not match his enthusiasm in a variety of categories.