Felipe Massa, Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button, Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat, Albert Park, 2016

Drivers urge overhaul of “obsolete” F1 governance

2016 F1 season

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The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has called for root-and-branch changes to how Formula One is run in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The GPDA claims recent sporting, technical and business changes to F1 “do not address the bigger issues our sport is facing and in some cases could jeopardise its future success”. The focus of their complaint is F1’s governance structure, which it describes as “obsolete and ill-structured and prevents progress being made”.

The drivers called for the sport to adopt a “clear master plan” which should “reflect the principles and core values of Formula One”.

Although the statement is signed “on behalf of the Grand Prix drivers”, not all F1 drivers are members of the GPDA.

GPDA statement, March 23rd 2016

Driver Position Statement

Dear Formula 1 stakeholders. followers and fans,

The Grand Prix drivers would like to state our following position:

We drivers love our sport! Since childhood, 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, which makes us most probably the people with the purest interest for Formula 1, beside our fans.

Formula 1 is currently challenged by a difficult global economic environment, a swift change in fan and consumer behaviour. and a decisive shift in the TV and media landscape. This makes it fundamental that the sport’s leaders make smart and well considered adjustments.

We feel that some recent rule changes – on both the sporting and technical side, and including some business directions – are disruptive, do not address the bigger issues our sport is facing and in some cases could jeopardise its future success. We know that among the leaders of the sport – be it the owners, their representatives, the governing body, the teams or other stakeholders – every individual acts with the very best intentions.

Therefore, the drivers have come to the conclusion that the decision-making process in the sport is obsolete and ill-structured and prevents progress being made, indeed, it can sometimes lead to just the opposite, a gridlock. This reflects negatively on our sport, prevents it being fit for the next generation of fans and compromises further global growth.

We would like to request and urge the owners and all stakeholders of Formula 1 to consider restructuring its own governance. The future directions and decisions of F1, be they short or long term, sporting, technical or business orientated should be based on a clear master plan. Such plan should reflect the principles and core values of Formula 1.

We need to ensure that F1 remains a sport, a closely-fought competition between the best drivers in extraordinary machines on the coolest race tracks. F1 should be home only to the best teams, drivers and circuits, with partners and suppliers fit for such an elite championship.

Formula 1 has undoubtedly established itself as the pinnacle of motorsport and as such one of the most viewed and popular sports around the world. We drivers stand united, offer our help and support for F1 to keep it as such, and further to make it fit and exciting for many years and generations to come.

It is important to state that this open letter is intended in the best interests of all and should not be seen as blind and disrespectful attack. Thank you for your attention and granting us the liberty to put our thoughts into words.

Best regards,

Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Alex Wurz, on behalf of the Grand Prix Drivers

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Keith Collantine
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  • 76 comments on “Drivers urge overhaul of “obsolete” F1 governance”

    1. Even if this achieves nothing, I know that I as a fan of Formula 1 really appreciate the drivers coming together to say what desperately needed to be said about the leadership of the sport.

      It’s reassuring to know that they all get it too. I really hope this can in some way help to stimulate some much-needed changes at the top – but I won’t hold my breath.

      1. @willwood

        It’s reassuring to know that they all get it too.

        Hear, hear.

      2. Spot on. The sport is becoming a laughing stock, and this really needed to be said by someone within the sport.

      3. @willwood – Spot on. We all know it won’t change anything )the drivers are listened to about as much as the fans are) but it’s good to have another major part of F1 publicly stating that F1 is very much broken.

      4. Very true, at least the drivers have stated this in a professional, diplomatic and concerned matter.

        Only problem is, the current governance decides what the future governance will be.

      5. @willwood

        So true, I approve of this statement 👍

        @keithcollantine comment of the day right here

      6. +1, COTD. Echoed my sentiments verbatim. The optimist in me wants to believe this may be the shot in the arm the FIA needed to fix the direction the sport is heading in. It feels good to hear those with more of a say reiterate what us fans have been saying for quite some time now.

      7. Apex Assassin
        23rd March 2016, 17:21

        It’s about time Button and especially president Wurz said and did something relevant!!!!!!

        Shame there wasn’t an offer of a solution or a demand to create one as this letter has been long overdue in my opinion and should be referring to MUCH MORE than the abortive qualifying system that was poorly conceived and terribly implemented.

        1. Agree with everyone above.

        2. Apex Assassin, and in many ways you are hitting on a very sore point: for all the effusive praise that people are heaping over the GPDA, there is little of substance to their statement in terms of delivering substantive changes.

          It is one thing to suggest that the sport should change its governance structure and another thing entirely to come up with a workable solution. Whilst they say that the current political system has lead to gridlock, at the same time it is not clear what direction they want to take those reforms.

          Do they want the teams to take on more responsibility for both the development and promotion of the sport? If so, how do you address the differences in negotiating power between the largest and smallest teams without introducing potentially damaging schisms between them, for example? Or do they want a “benevolent dictatorship”, as it were, where the decision making powers are concentrated in the hands of a small number of people charged with developing the sport? There have been those who have complained that, in attempting to make the sport more democratic, we have a situation where nobody is truly accountable for their actions and nobody wants to become accountable.

          Do the drivers themselves want to become more involved in the decision making process? If so, how do you ensure that all of the drivers have an equal opportunity to provide an input? Or do the drivers even want to get as involved in the organisation of the sport? We saw how Hamilton complained that, when the drivers did meet with Charlie Whiting, Vettel was the only driver who did any talking, suggesting that many of the drivers are taking a much more passive role behind the scenes than their public persona suggests.

          Whilst there are those within the sport who level criticisms and fans outside the sport complain, no party – from the fans to the drivers to the teams to the regulatory and commercial bodies – are able to set out a unifying clear single vision for the sport. The drivers can “get the idea” all they like, but without offering any sort of potential solution, all we are left with is an ultimately empty statement.

          As an aside, it is somewhat ironic to see that so many are praising Vettel given that, at least in the past, he was one of the drivers in the field who had the closest personal links with Bernie…

          1. Am in total agreement with Will Wood;
            ANON; The GPDA may not have the answers, but they are asking for the governing body to come down from their ivory tower and discuss the very points you mention in order to find solutions and that can only be good for F1.

            1. Pffff…i see nothing in this letter. A lot of talk about nothing basically.
              If the drivers expect to be heard and listened to they better stop being vague as hell and say clearly what they want. Not making silly little letter where all they are saying is “Please fix things”.
              If they don’t have the guts to propose anything because they fear FOM, FIA or even their own team having an effect on their career then they better stop making silly noise with no subsistence and just sit down and accept they are too scared to fight for what they want.

          2. easy to say that the drivers are not doing anything Anon. But when you look at things, they started out last year with that solid inquiring into what fans wanted of F1. I think that they actually do had some solid ideas of what the strategy could / should be.

            And even if not, they sure have far more of a long term view than what the current muddle called governance offers.

            1. @bascb, the thing is, as I pointed out in my comment, whilst the fans lash out at what they perceive to be knee jerk reactions by the governing body, the response from the fan base is often just as reactionary, incoherent and downright contradictory.

              When you look at the responses in the questionnaire, the responses were inconclusive (often with only small margins in any direction) and a number of the responses to certain questions tended to contradict each other. We didn’t see a solution being offered that looked forwards to the future – on the contrary, they could only look backwards and offer up a mismatch of old ideas, mashed together with no real rhyme or reason.

              @hohum, yes, they have asked “the governing body to come down from their ivory tower” – what is new about that? On the contrary, last year we would frequently see reports prefaced with comments about the FIA and FOM holding meetings with the teams – what good did that bring?

              If anything, the GPDA’s statement points out that there has been too much talking – hence the reference to political gridlock – and not enough tangible action. As we can see from the past few years, you can talk as frequently as you like but, if nobody wants to take responsibility for actions, you will still not resolve anything in the longer term.

            2. Their survey was an abomination. most of it was bloody marketing quotations and the other was basically forcing us to say whether we want F1 to be the fastest category which of course the people answered yes and the F1 circus of clowns translated that as “We must make the car a lot faster with more aero”

    2. Wowzers. Awesome that Vettel has put his name to it. I would expect nothing less of Button and Wurz.

      (I hope they didn’t really spell Jenson wrong in the original!)

      1. Those 3 are the presidents of the GPDA

        1. GPDA have 3 presidents?

          1. I read that there are 2 directors and 1 chairman. Chairman is Wurz. Vettel and Button are directors.

      2. Apex Assassin
        23rd March 2016, 17:23

        Nice to see you remain impartial and in no way are gushing fangirl, lol.

    3. I hope there are some detailed or specific ideas behind this to get a debate going – but they’re right, F1 needs a plan that reflects its principles, and not its principals…

      1. Apex Assassin
        23rd March 2016, 17:25

        OOOOOH how is this not COTD!?!?!?

    4. To be honest I think Jean todt has been incapable for a long time, maybe I’m being unfair.

      1. Although his hands-off management hasn’t helped, Jean Todt is basically hamstrung by being beholden to an absurd 100 year legally binding contract with FOM that has so few get-out clauses for the Federation that the best he can hope for is the sport to implode so he can jettison the current omnishambles and offer a new deal to a new CRH that stands up for the sport, not money, dictatorships & corruption.

        The fact that in order to raise money for the FIA he basically had to hand over key voting rights to the cancer eating the sport says it all.

        1. I think you are absolutely right Optimaximal, but that you greatly understate the damning case
          against Jean Todt, whose heart was once totally committed to F1, but who has shown conclusively
          in the past several years that what F1 is and will become, is a totally lost cause. That he has
          other fish to fry ( International Road Safety in general terms ) and that he has, in Faustian terms,
          sold his soul to the devil ( Mr Bernard Charles Ecclestone ) in order to allow him to spend the thirty
          pieces of tarnished silver on his pet project. To change the analogy, Todt has thrown F1 to the wolves.

          All this is bad enough, but when you add in the rigours of a major world recession, and massively
          amplify that financial torture by allowing the current ownership of every aspect of F1 by an organisation
          ( CVC Capital Partners ) that has absolutely zero interest in F1 as anything other than a cash cow
          it is intent on milking to death. An example: The reason why we do not have races in the
          world’s most lucrativecar market ( The U.S. ) is caused entirely by that egregious ownership of everything F1 is and does.

          And entirely laudable though the F1 drivers are in writing in the way they have, sadly they are
          whistling in the dark while the storm envelopes them. I did not enjoy writing this dismal,
          pessimistic piece, any more that I enjoy watching the monster slowly but surely destroying F1.

          All the above is very well known to practically everyone involved in F1 but when it comes to
          speaking up for a superb sport with huge potential those who could and should speak are silent.
          all rights in F1

          1. And the worst of all this is the exit strategy from this seemingly sealed maze. There is none. F1 has set a trap for itself and now cannot escape. Unless, the rights are purchased outright from CVC/Bernie. Any takers to attempt this feat of wills and extreme large amounts of cash?

    5. It is hard to disagree with anything that is said in the statement.

      Not everything that the decision makers have done over the last years is lamentable. For instance, the new tyre rules seem to be a success even if they are not easy to understand at first. Drivers have ‘career numbers’ now. Some other things such as F1’s increased presence on the social media might have come too late but they are still steps in the right direction. Renault have bought their old team back and there is a brand new American team on the grid this year. F1 has returned to Austria and Mexico. I am sure that everyone of us could say something good about the last few years.

      But there have also been too many failures, such as double points, elimination qualifying or endorsement of dictators. That suggests that there is indeed something wrong with the governance of F1. I am sure that many would love to change the way the sport is run but the problem is that everyone has their own vision of how it should be changed. The drivers have now stated that they are not indifferent and we can only hope that their concerns and especially the acknowledgment that F1 must remain a sport will be taken seriously by those, who have the power to make things better.

      1. I agree with your analysis, but you pass over what to me is the biggest issue facing F1 these days: the transition to pay TV and away from the countries where its fan base resides. This is causing the fan base to evaporate faster than it can possibly hope to grow in the new countries (and, while there’s no doubt that China and Indonesia have a huge upside, other populous countries like India, Korea, and Turkey are now gone too, along with France and even last year Germany. Meanwhile, the potential fan bases in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and Azerbaijan can hardly be expected to make up for it.

        This is why sponsorship in F1 has already dried up for the teams, and if things continue for another few years in this vein, the sport will be in serious trouble.

        1. Yes, you are absolutely right, I just mentioned a few examples but there are a lot of issues and the whole situation is complex and requires strong leadership instead of Ecclestone and Todt. The current decision makers seem to think that modified qualifying rules are the ‘master plan’ that will turn the sport around…

        2. I think the goal of Bernie or CVC today is not about getting new your average worker fans. What they want is new fans that can buy Rolexes at a whim. When you look at it that way, it’s obvious to see why they shifted the races to oil rich country, because that’s where current people who like throw money away is not reached by F1 yet. Meanwhile, on “old” countries like France and Germany, F1 already have their fans there. Speak what you want about diminishing average fans there, but for the rich people, they won’t bothered a bit by the switch to pay-tv. Heck they maybe travelling to lot of GP circuits as VIP instead. Also their children will still become F1 fans if their parents love to bring them to GP, so as far as the big money goes, nothing lost yet. Does it bad for F1 in long term? Absolutely. But with how business run these days with the decision makers contracted for 5 years or so, they just going to milk that 5 years, get their bonus on the way out and leave all the year 6+ problems for whoever replacing them.

      2. Not arguing with what you are saying, but imho you are not getting to the core issue that I think is fairly universal and agreed by virtually all fans and the drivers…closer racing on better tires in cars less negatively affected in dirty air. That would go so so far in building back audience, and ridding themselves of their perceived need for gadgets that try, but fail, to mask the dirty air effect, and that have only harmed the integrity of the sport.

        1. I think that is what they mean by saying that F1 has to remain a sport. The drivers are obviously tired of all the gimmickry. They have said many times that they want to push, not to save fuel or nurse tyres. A lot of fans would also prefer “natural” racing instead of what Pirelli and DRS give them.

          That said, one would first need to understand why F1 has been unable to effectively reduce the amount of ‘dirty air’ if team bosses have agreed on other radical changes, such as the current power units. Also, ‘less aero, less dirty air, more mechanical grip’ is no panacea. If fans cannot afford to pay for tickets or pay-TV subscription, if we keep losing traditional venues like Nurburgring and Monza, if teams like Sauber cannot survive, if there are big performance gaps between teams and so on, then F1 will be in trouble and different technical regulations will not save it.

          1. It’s not so much a case of reducing dirty(turbulent) air as it is reducing the dependence on aerodynamic devices such as multi element front wings that need smooth air too work properly. I agree with you if Ecclestone, Todt and the teams can agree on such a radical change to the power units why not new aerodynamic and tire specs.

            1. @girts Agreed. I just wonder if improving the product with closer racing in cars and on tires the drivers are happy with might go a long way. But for sure the pay TV thing and other things are factors, no question.

              @Doug Agreed. Was not meaning to imply they should reduce turbulence itself. I advocate for smaller less complicated wings so that a car in dirty air is less negatively affected, leaving drivers with more confidence in the car while trailing, and ideally on good tires to add to their mechanical grip, and again, confidence while in dirty air.

    6. Interesting. I especially like that they said changes should be based on a clearly stated master plan. Unfortunately what that master plan is will probably vary greatly depending on who was asked making it hard to define. Nice first step though.

    7. “be it the owners, their representatives, the governing body, the teams or other stakeholders – every individual acts with the very best intentions.”

      They only act in their own interests……….and will continue to do so. That is the core problem.

      1. Spot on. I can’t think of anyone involved in F1’s governance who acts with the best intentions of the sport. No-one at all.

        The teams want regulations that give them an advantage – ie Mercedes want everything decided by the power units and Red Bull want everything decided by aero.

        Bernie wants whatever makes him richer. Everything is based on short term gains simply because he thankfully won’t be around in the longer term.

        The sponsors simply want loads of brand exposure – as their rates are decided by Bernie, it’s unlikely they’ll disagree with anything he says.

        Pirelli have invested millions into a bad idea which was created by F1’s leaders. Suggesting they completely change their approach will cost them money – who will pay for that? Bernie won’t because it won’t make him richer so therefore, they won’t want to make major changes.

        The tracks simply want people to come to races. As they are all struggling with Bernie’s ridiculous costs to host a race, they aren’t going to speak out too loudly as he’ll increase the costs.

        As others have mentioned, the FIA and specifically Jean Todt, are stuck with previous agreements that leaves them with very little power.

        Sadly, the people who love the sport (instead of the money it makes them) are left excluded from any decision making resulting in the drivers and fans complaining about the sport and the rest getting richer.

      2. Paul Ortenburg
        23rd March 2016, 21:17

        Correct, I don’t get all the Bernie hate from the comments section. Bernie has to deal with the teams, each of which has their own demands and it is the teams that are causing most of the problems with F1 and have essentially gridlocked it be it over Engines or Aero changes.

        Is Bernie blameless, of course not, but neither is he the source of all F1’s evils.

    8. Granted they’re acting in unity, not individually, but it’s finally good to have the drivers stand up to the mess that is currently shoving the sport towards oblivion.

      3 years too late, but yeah, finally good…

    9. Someone needs to shoot Bernie for any real change to materialise and I can’t see the point in caring until such a time where Bernie doesn’t run F1 exists. Not discounting the great work he does but there can’t be proper governance and Bernie Ecclestone.

    10. I agree. #BernieMustGo

    11. Whilst I appreciate they have to blow smoke up certain parts of certain people, there are some clear contradictions in that piece.

      They state that “every individual acts with the very best intentions” however they then state that current governance “prevents it being fit for the next generation of fans”

      Which part of Bernie stating “F1 doesn’t need younger fans because they can’t afford a Rolex” ties in with trying to make F1 “fit for the next generation of fans?” I may be wrong but that sounds like the exact opposite….

      1. Fair point. I think they were being deliberately non-confrontational in the hope that they’d be more likely to be listened to that way.

        And never mind the next generation of fans, F1 is in danger of losing its existing generation(s). I’ve already stopped watching, for the most part; I had to tune in to qualifying in Melbourne to see what a mess it had become, but I didn’t bother with the actual race for the first time in at least a decade.

        1. That’s a shame, whilst quali was a pile of dog muck, the race was really very good!

        2. “I think they were being deliberately non-confrontational in the hope that they’d be more likely to be listened to that way.”

          That’s exactly how I read it too. They have assertively started their opinion, while tempering the message so as not to offend. It’s a very good letter with a clear message written in the way which is most likely to be listened to.

          If it is ignored, they can then escalate the language used to make a bigger impact. It’s a shrewd political play.

    12. This is great. Some really great points made. Good on them :)

      Just hope it’s taken well politically.

    13. It’s funny how FIA was made to sell it’s commercial interests in the sport to FOM, to keep the commercial side and the sporting side separated, yet, Bernie can’t stop meddling in the sporting side. Go figure…
      You almost get a feeling that Max and Bernie made EU inquire into F1, just so they would have a reason to make the sale. If there is ever to be any hope for F1, it needs to burn down to the ground and be rebuilt from scratch. Other than that, we can wait for some 85 years and see what happens then.

    14. “Therefore, 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. This reflects negatively on our sport, prevents it being fit for the next generation of fans and compromises further global growth.

      We would like to request and urge the owners and all stakeholders of Formula 1 to consider restructuring its own governance. The future directions and decisions of F1, be they short or long term, sporting, technical or business orientated should be based on a clear master plan. Such plan should reflect the principles and core values of Formula 1.”

      The fable of the genie in the bottle and your three wishes. Be careful what you wish for.
      Because you could read this, from Bernies’ point of view as this is exactly what he wants.
      Bernie has always wanted to have the only option on a clear master plan. Effectively a dictatorship with Bernie at the helm.

      1. Very well said. Bernie will take that and say “See that is why you should learn me run things and we shouldn’t have all this democratic debates that prevent fast decisions”, despite Bernie being the one responsible for the crappy tires the drivers hate, despite being the one behind knee jerk reactions like double points and the 90 seconds elimination qualifying and basically always being behinds stupid knee-jerk ideas of spicing the show(metals, sprinklers anyone?).
        His also the one that inspired the big negativity on the new engines with his whining along with his whining friends Red Bull.

    15. Translation: Bernie, retire !!


    16. Nothing will change until the money stops flowing.

      1. I have been saying this since 2012. F1 is complete garbage now. Many people complain but still watch because it’s called “Formula One” (in my opinion it really isn’t). Until people stop watching races on TV, going to GP’s NOTHING WILL CHANGE. I haven’t been to a GP in 2 yrs & don’t care to watch anymore.

        I’m a fan since 1998.

        Stop supporting this nonsense, they currently think it’s a small minority on the internet that isn’t happy because too many people are supporting this “sport”

    17. If they are really behind this and want to do something, not just be seen to do something, they should make clear demands, and everyone who signs the manifesto refuses to drive until the demands are met. They can replace one or two or three or five drives, but they can’t replace 20 drivers, many of whom are the champions.

      This is just meaningless positioning. No change was made without putting in as much effort as the size of the change you wanna see being made.

      1. The drivers/teams would be breaking contracts, and the real changes that imho are needed cannot be made mid-season. Better tires for closer racing and more leaning of mechanical grip to aero grip and so much would be solved with closer racing drawing more audience and allowing for the removal of harmful-to-the-sport gadgets. These things can be easily done for 2017, but it’s too late for this year, and shooting themselves in the foot by boycotting, knowing that, will not help.

      2. So long as there are teams whose only income is from F1 a boycott is impossible, those teams would have to let all their staff go and likely sell all their assets. Only manufacturer teams like Ferrari, Mercedes, and Renault (Toyota,Honda,BMW) could afford to stop racing for a year and re-start again, this is why Ferrari have such a favourable deal. When F1 becomes an entirely manufacturer-team sport then, and only then, will the teams be able to dictate the course of F1, which explains Bernies love/hate relationship with them.

      3. @robbie You really need to think bigger. You think there wouldn’t be some compromise if all the drivers went on strike? The contract comes into play only if it’s a few drivers. You are getting to concerned with specific things. This is about the whole governance of F1. Only when you have that, will there be some decent rule-making process.

        @hohum thinks a bit bigger. And he had a good point, but if all the drivers boycotted, everything else becomes secondary. The whole system would (hopefully) have to change, and it would be better for all involved. Independents and manufacturers.

        But you do have a good point that relative flexibility of the manufacturers gives them more room for maneuvering. That said, this is about drivers, and they are the stars of the show.

    18. Brilliant. I really like the line “F1 should only be home to the best teams, drivers and circuits… fit for such an elite championship.” Reading between the lines the drivers must dislike going to certain circuits, and would prefer to go like to go to ones that aren’t on the calender which fit the ‘elite’ description. We can dream…

    19. Nice to hear but they really didn’t give specifics as to what to do. We all want racing and we all want racing at the tracks we all like.

    20. I think this is designed to win popular acclaim rather than anything else. It panders to the fans who think “yeah Jenson and Sebby are gonna sort it.” But let’s be honest, there’s lots of words there without saying much at all. It might as well read:

      “The Grand Prix drivers would like to state our following position:

      Change stuff! But we’re not sure what…..
      PS: Maybe louder engines, and other stuff from the old days.”

      Instead it comes across as a group of guys annoyed that their opinions weren’t heeded following the final test meeting in Barcelona. Seb’s parade down the pitlane in jeans was a calculated move, and I think this statement has its roots in that issue. Otherwise this is a trivial and poorly advised move unfortunately. And if they think they can play PR wars with Bernie, they might regret moving into that position. How many times have we heard drivers say they don’t want to get involved in this side of the sport because “it’s not my area man?” So they should steer clear. I’m sure Bernie will say something along the lines of “I’m listening if they say anything interesting.” But really, they should have come up with a clear list of improvements that could be implemented, rather than a bunch of hot air.

      1. Isn’t it more, ok can we talk about this? Suggesting loads of different ideas is not going to work, because it’s essentially the same as what has been happening. What is required is a long term plan, not knee-jerk reactions including any from the GPDA. I believe they’ve done the right thing here.

        1. It might be, but then I suspect that creating an open letter is designed to have an impact of sorts. And most things in sport are done behind closed doors. Perhaps they feel that this is the only way to have their voices heard. But at the same time, I think they need to go in with a proper master plan, and I don’t think they have one. Even if it’s the basis of a long term strategy that is fine. But instead it comes across as political posturing, which is usually the kind of stuff Bernie is lambasted for. I think it cuts both ways, and they should get their heads down and race.

          It just feels a bit show sighted, when it could have laid out obvious weak points that the governing body would come under increasing pressure to look at. As an example of this, in football we’ve seen ticket prices capped at a lower cost because of fan pressure. I think they should go after an overall strategy and leave the rest to those who will have to do the work. For example, they could have pushed for Ross Brawn to head up a strategy group. Something like that would have given this a bit more clout.

    21. Drivers are good at driving.
      Engineers are good at making cars.
      Team owners are good at running teams.
      None of these people have a clue how to run a sport or put on a credible show. That is the job of a promoter, and the current one is well past his sell by date.
      Problem is we watch despite the sport’s governance, and that tends to make people think they are doing a good job.
      We need Bernie to leave, and get in someone who knows about putting on a show which fans will find credible. No point expecting drivers, engineers or managers to have any idea what to do, its not their skill set.

      1. Yet we wouldnt miss a race for anything.?.

    22. >The drivers called for the sport to adopt a “clear master plan” which should “reflect the principles and core values of Formula One”.

      This is where F1’s problems begin and end. As I have said before, F1 has no clear target audience and if you don’t have a clear target audience, you cannot make the appropriate step to please said audience. You can’t have it all and F1 is trying to have it all.

    23. Is Lewis Hamilton part of this?

      1. Nope, he’s got too much $WAG to be in the GPDA. The same is true for Raikkonen.

    24. Now I want engineers to have their say. Symonds once stated that 2017 cars will be even more difficult to follow but nobody seemed to listen and chiefs continued their push for more aero…

    25. I saw the news about this GPDA letter on the BBC site and came here to read more and to comment.

      When I got to F1 Fanatic I see the news that Sky will have exclusive rights to F1 in the UK from 2019, having earlier noticed in the BBC article that one of the driver’s concerns was supposedly the move towards pay TV causing a decline in audiences, well that is just going to get even worse on the future.

      It is good that the drivers are speaking out, hopefully others may also now publically say something and put pressure for change to happen.

      However I am normally a pessimist so I do not expect anything to change for the better, will are probably more likely to stupid gimmicks to try to improve racing.

    26. I bet Bernie couldn’t have screwed it up and binned it any faster.

      In fact, I’d bet that’s exactly what he did the moment it slid out of his 80’s fax machine.

    27. Can they change governance as quickly as they changed the Qualifying regulations?

    28. I suggest that when the spotlight shifts from Fifa, the next place investigators should look is at F1, though they’d probably be bought off in some way, after all money makes the world go around.

    29. Maybe drivers need to go on strike…

      Have them vote on rules not strategy group… Let each strategy group member purpose rules and let drivers vote on best set.

      After all they are the best racers…

    30. “We need to ensure that F1 remains a sport, a closely-fought competition between the best drivers in extraordinary machines on the coolest race tracks. F1 should be home only to the best teams, drivers and circuits, with partners and suppliers fit for such an elite championship”

      Amen to that. Sport before show.

      Drivers can’t have like Manor much last year despite a lot of fans happy they stayed.

    31. This is the first shot across the bow. How Bernie, FOM and others react to it will be highly interesting and will largely determine how this thing goes down… eventually… and that ‘s not meant to extend the nautical analogy, because we all want this ship to stay afloat : ) Good on the guys to make a stand.

    32. “Coolest”? Who writes to a management group using words that aren’t even in their vocabulary?

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