Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes motorsport has to become “much more affordable” at every level, in the wake of Formula 1 introducing a budget cap.
Formula 1 chiefs have agreed to reduce costs from 2021, limiting annual spending to $145m, a figure which will lower to $135m by 2023.
But the cost of competing in junior categories remains high for aspiring Formula 1 drivers.
While budgets vary depending on the team and the services included, it is understood that leading Formula 2 teams need around $3m from a driver, with the figure standing at $1m for Formula 3.
In recent years that cost has trickled down into the karting scene.
“Where it needs to start is in go-karting [so] the grass roots of motor racing need to become much more affordable than they are today,” said Wolff.
“To pay £100,000, for a 12-year-old to race in a proper championship, is simply unimaginable for most families.
“We need to work on a scheme that we have a large number of kids who can try go-karting, compete in proper kit, and eventually they will make their way into F1.
“Someone like Lewis Hamilton, who was given the opportunity in a go-kart will always find his or her way into F1 because their talent is extraordinary. But every single category needs to come down in cost.”
In a press conference with select media Wolff also covered the recent race-based protests that began in the United States, after the death in police custody of unarmed black man George Floyd, and which have since spread to other countries.
Reigning World Champion Hamilton issued regular remarks on social media backing the protests, and calling for change, with Mercedes publicly lending its support to his stance.
“We know that Lewis is always strong support of any minorities,” said Wolff. “To be honest I have learned a lot from him as well.
“He has asked me the question once, ‘have you ever had the active thought that you are white’ and I said no, actually, I’ve never thought about it, and he said ‘well I need to think about it every day as I am being made aware’.
“I think therefore it’s very difficult for us to comprehend how difficult it is and therefore I am happy and supportive that he has come out [and been] vocal; he is one of the ambassadors of this sport and I think it’s good.”