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F1 drivers: decision making process is “obsolete”

Two world champions and Le Mans winner back scathing statement criticising the sport

On behalf of the whole grid, Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) directors Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Alex Wurz have signed an open letter urging F1 bosses to fix how the sport is run.

It follows a disastrous period during which a new ‘elimination’ format for qualifying was floated, adopted, delayed, reinstated, condemned and then dropped again in little over a month.

The letter says “that some recent rule changes - on both the sporting and technical side, and including some business directions - are disruptive” and that failure to tackle the biggest issues “could jeopardise [Formula 1’s] future success.”

While the drivers are keen for the letter “not be seen as blind and disrespectful attack”, the move is still a surprise given that the drivers were told to keep their concerns to themselves last year, after a backlash against Pirelli’s tyres during the Belgian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg each suffered from high-speed blowouts at Spa-Francorchamps, which led to widespread condemnation and anger at the time.

“Since childhood,” says the letter, “we dreamed of racing the fastest race cars from the top teams on the coolest tracks against the best drivers in the world. We seek competition and love F1 almost unconditionally.

“The drivers have come to the conclusion that the decision-making process in the sport is obsolete and ill-structured and prevents progress being made. Indeed, it can sometimes lead to just the opposite, a gridlock.”

It then adds that the future of the sport “should be based on a clear master plan”, and that, at its core, F1 should be “a closely-fought competition between the best drivers in extraordinary machines”.

With several parties bringing their own agendas to the table when it comes to forming F1’s rules, it’s hard to see the letter having much effect. But at least it’s good to know that the drivers aren’t happy either…

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