F1 rule change could leave Lewis Hamilton and other stars facing £870k fines

Lewis Hamilton says he won't pay F1's new $1million (£871k) maximum fine unless the FIA vow to use the money to improve the sport.

A rule change was ratified at a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday (October 19), which has seen the previous limit of $250k (£218k) quadrupled.

It's the first time in 12 years that the monetary punishment has been increased. And it's been met with heavy backlash from the drivers ahead of this weekend's United States Grand Prix.

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Speaking at the Circuit of the Americas, Hamilton said: "When it comes to things like this, we really need to be thinking [about] the message that that sends out to those that are watching. If they are going to be fining one million euros, let's make sure that 100% of that goes to a cause.

"There's a lot of money in this whole industry and there's a lot more that we need to do in terms of creating better accessibility, better diversity, more opportunities for people who don't or wouldn't normally have a chance to get into a sport like this – so many causes around the world. That's the only way they'll get that million from me."

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His rival Max Verstappen gave a more tongue-in-cheek response, referencing the fine he got for touching the rear wing of Hamilton's car at the 2021 Brazil GP. "Well, if touching a rear wing is 50,000 euros, then I would like to know what one million is – then maybe we can sponsor also the bottles of wine," he quipped.

Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, sympathised with those on the grid who won't have as big a bank balance as him, Hamilton and Verstappen, saying: "It's a huge amount of money. I have no idea about what deserves a one-million-euro penalty, but it's more than… I mean, some drivers are making less than that."

One of those less well off is Haas' Kevin Magnusen, who joked: "I don't know what it is to be one million, but that sounds ridiculous. I mean, Charles can give his watch, but I would disappear, never to be found again."

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