Domenicali urges 'selfish' F1 drivers to look at 'broader picture'

© XPB 

Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali says F1 drivers need to take a step back and look at the sport's evolution from a broader perspective instead of from their own "selfish" concerns.

Grand Prix racing is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth under Domenicali's guidance, both in sporting terms, with F1's rising popularity with new demographics, as well as financially with all ten teams enjoying healthy profits.

However, a few issues have come to the fore recently as far as many drivers are concerned.

At last month's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the race's lack of overtaking was deemed as a cause for concern by GPDA director George Russell and two-time world champion Max Verstappen who both believe that F1's current designs are reducing once again overtaking opportunities on race day.

Russell suggested that drivers are determined to address the problem with F1 and the FIA at the earliest opportunity.

Furthermore, in Miami, save for Lewis Hamilton, F1's congregation of drivers were unimpressed with the event's high-energy pre-race presentation, which most thought was "distracting" while also a burden as they were left standing in the blazing heat for 30 minutes all suited and booted.

Finally, the advent of F1's Sprint format – six of which are included in this year's calendar – also received mixed reviews, especially from Verstappen who threatened to reconsider his future in F1 if the sport further expands the inclusion of Sprint events on race weekends.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Domenicali criticized the drivers' views on changes that have on the whole been beneficial to F1 and urged the group to look at the big picture.

"I don’t want a society in which people cannot say what they want," commented Domenicali. "But drivers sometimes need to remember that they are part of a broader picture.

"We don’t need to be selfish. They are part of this sport and this business, and it grows because we are thinking bigger.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23 leads at the start of the Sprint race. 29.04.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit, Azerbaijan, Sprint Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

"Sometimes being out of our comfort zone is not easy, but we cannot be lazy or complacent – just as we can review some of the specifics of the sprint weekend format at the end of the season once we have tried it out on the intended six occasions. We won’t have sprints every weekend, either.

"But we have a new audience and need to provide value for money every session, not let everyone drive around in circles for the sole benefit of engineers and drivers."

Regarding Verstappen's threats of walking away from F1 if the sport develops in a direction he does not like, Domenicali reckons the Dutchman will likely remain on the grid for longer than the Itlian will remain at the helm of F1.

"I discussed the issues with Max," Domenicali said. "He said he loved the sport and what he was doing.

"He is World Champion and is fighting for a third title. He was born in a car and I would say he is likely to stay longer than me. It’s not a problem."

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