F1 drivers united behind GPDA letter calling for change

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A number of Formula 1 drivers have expressed their support for the letter issued by the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) last month calling for change in the sport’s governance structure.

Following the patchy implementation of a new qualifying format for the Australian Grand Prix and ongoing discontent with the decisions being taken by F1’s top powers, the GPDA wrote an open letter that called for widespread change.

The letter marked the politicization of the GPDA and a first united call from the drivers for a change in F1’s direction.

A number of drivers expressed their support for the letter ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, with Fernando Alonso saying it is a first step towards helping improve F1.

“I think the letter says everything. We love the sport,” Alonso said.

“We love it so much that maybe we think the last couple of years we’ve been a little bit moving left and right with not a clear direction and we want to help in any of the things the fans want, the drivers want, the sponsors want, that are quite clear in some of the things we’ve been searching in the last couple of years.

“It’s a supporting letter from all of the drivers that we do care about our sport and we would like to get involved in some of the decisions or in some of the things that we could help somehow.

“It’s a start. It’s the way the sport is moving in the last couple of years, maybe we don’t see it completely right.”

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg stressed the importance of keeping fans happy, using the discontent voiced over qualifying as an example.

“We’re all united on this opinion because we love the sport and can see the fans are criticising some aspects that we could do better,” Rosberg said.

“We could be even more exciting as a sport and we want to question whether or not the F1 governance cannot review the process in which decisions are made in all these things to try to get it to a point where we can get some better decisions done and become a more exciting sport.

“There’s recent examples, with this qualifying where the fans are just at home and they’re not happy with it. We’re racing for the fans. Mostly for the fans. That’s the examples that are now the recent cases.

“Even the rules for next year. We’re putting on more downforce although actually we should be trying to help overtaking. More downforce is known for making overtaking and following other cars more difficult. It’s not necessarily the right way.

“With all of these things we are saying that we would like to be more involved, have more of a say, us drivers – so let’s see where this takes us.”

Felipe Massa added: “I totally agree with both of them. All the drivers are united on this letter that you guys saw. We just want to be part of changing, to improve the sport.”

Despite not being a GPDA member, Max Verstappen said that the body’s letter did sum up the thoughts of the entire grid.

“We are all united so it’s not that if you’re [not in the GPDA you’re] not a part of the whole letter,” Verstappen told NBCSN.

“I think all the drivers agreed on that.”