F1 drivers show united front on GPDA letter

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For their first race weekend since the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) sent out an open letter bemoaning the current state of their sport, Formula One pilots show a united front in saying they want to help improve the series.

The strongly worded statement certainly created a stir as soon as it was released last week, with drivers calling for a major reform of F1’s “ill-structured” and “obsolete” decision-making process lest it would jeopardise the sport.

Thursday’s FIA press conference in Bahrain gave reporters the opportunity to gauge how determined the drivers were in their collegial pursuit of a better future for F1.

“I think the letter says everything,” Fernando Alonso started. “We love the sport. We love it so much that maybe we think the last couple of years we have been a little bit moving left and right without any clear direction.

“We want to help in any of the things that the fans, the drivers, the sponsors want, which is quite clear. Some of the things we have been searching in the last couple of years.

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

Speaking next, Nico Rosberg added that recent questionable decisions also boosted his peers’ willingness to stick their necks out.

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

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

“There are recent examples like with this qualifying where the fans are just at home and they are not happy with it. We’re racing for the fans, mostly for the fans.

“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.

“We’re really trying to say that we would like to be more involved, have more of a say, us drivers, so let’s see where this takes us.”

Romain Grosjean explains that the GPDA letter stems first and foremost from the drivers’ passion for their craft.

“Fernando sums up the situation pretty well,” said the Frenchman. “He has broken ribs and wanted to race because he loves the sport. We are fans of Formula One. We want it to be the best it can, the best drivers, the best cars, the best show.

“As Nico [Rosberg] said, the decisions have not been so good in the eyes of the fans, the media, the sponsors, the drivers even. We just want to help the sport more than anything.”

Even the newest members of the F1 fraternity are keen to endorse the platform of their fellow drivers.

“I just joined Formula One,” said Manor rookie Pascal Wehrlein. “I’ve always dreamt of F1. When you join it, you want the sport to be in the best shape it can be. Definitely, everyone is not 100% happy today so we just need to improve that.”

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