It was a striking letter of concern from drivers on the direction of the sport but what impact has it had on the sport and has it become more open?
More open following GPDA letter
Jenson Button says the sport has been come “more open” following the letter in March from the trade union of the drivers calling the sports decision making process “obsolete and ill-structured”.
Drivers have not official voting power over the sports new regulations, which are devised by F1’s Strategy Group, voted on by the F1 Commission and rubber-stamped by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.
The letter called on F1 to devise a “master plan” to restructure this format to prevent similar “gridlock” in future. But there has been no change in the structure, however Button believes the FIA has been more willing to listen to what drivers have to say since the GPDA went public.
“We feel that we do have a say anyway and since our comments earlier in the year, the FIA have been more open to our opinions, but they would prefer it is behind closed doors rather than in the press. Button told ESPN.
He added “I think that we have a reasonable say but you always want more because you always think we have more to give, rather than take, and that’s definitely what we’re here to do — make the sport a better place.” Berine Ecclestone response was calling them ‘windbags’ telling them to keep their views to themselves.
Button added “I think it showed to the world that there are issues in F1 and the drivers know they are issues and are willing to help. Of course we got replies from certain individuals and I think our comments were valid and I think they understand that.”
“The important thing is that we’re all willing to what we can to improve the sport.”
Has Fernando Alonso given up on a third title because it takes away from his enjoyment of the sport?
A perfect career, even with no third title – Alonso
Fernando Alonso says he will see his career as ‘perfect’ even if he cannot achieve his burning desire of securing a third world championship. The McLaren driver says there is no pain after losing a few.
This is because his age has taught him to prioritise other aspects of the sport – including the simple enjoyment of racing, which he expects to be magnified in 2017. Speaking to F1.com Alonso said “I have been so lucky in my entire career to fight for championships,” Alonso told Formula1.com. “Yes, there have been more good opportunities for me, but for one reason or another it did not happen.”
Asked about the idea he could have matched Juan Manuel Fangio’s records if fortune had been slightly kinder, Alonso added: “Yes probably – but my career path also could have ended in karting! So everything is perfect for me.
“Probably success is the most important thing of the enjoyment of being here – you are here to compete. Being on the podium, winning a race or even a championship: these are the moments of ultimate enjoyment.”
He adds that there are other things he enjoys about F1. Saying the sport has given him opportunities to visit counties he wouldn’t have if hr was in the sport.
Asked if such views have changed over time, Alonso explained: “You change in any ways – not just as a driver! A person at 19 years old is completely different than at 35. That goes for any kind of relationship: family, friends, and the approach to the team, the working methods and of course the media.”
When he was announced as a Toro Rosso driver aged sixteen many in the sport were asking why a driver could get a drive with only a season of car racing. But why has Mika Hakkinen admitted he was wrong?
I was wrong on Verstappen – Hakkinen
Two times world champion Mika Hakkinen says he was wrong to criticise the age which Red Bull driver Max Verstappen came into Formula One.
The former McLaren driver said Verstappen was not suitably prepared for his 2015 debut season with Toro Rosso, and said at the time: “I would never let a driver as young as that race in F1.” But speaking at Assen home to the Dutch TT Hakkinen admitted he was wrong.
He said “I criticised him personally when he was entering Formula 1, thinking he was too young. “But I was really happy I was wrong, and it has strengthened my understanding that young girls and young boys they are much more ready in this world.”
“Max, obviously, it’s great what he has been doing and when I was a young kid – 16, 17 – when [I was] go-karting, it was amazing. It was incredibly competitive: the materials, discipline, physical efforts – what I needed to perform was at a very high level.”
Hakkinen says people are developing faster and not just in motorsport but in sport and business because of the tolls available or them to study and understand what is happening in this world.
“You can go for it and study as much as you want on the internet if you find the right information. So the life is much more in the fast lane these days. That explains why these young drivers are entering in such high positions.”
He finished by saying “nevertheless you need great talent and commitment, great discipline to be successful and Max obviously has done a great job.”
Felipe Massa suffered a head injury in 2009 so you would think he would be supporting the halo head protection. So why has he express concerns over the device and its limited testing?
Halo needs proper test – Massa
Felipe Massa says the Halo device needs a “proper test” for Formula One to know whether it is the right solution. The cockpit protection system has only been tested briefly during installation laps by three drivers: Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, and Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly.
The introduction of the device has been delayed until 2018 because the FIA needs to decide on other solutions will be considered. when asked if it was right to delay its introduction by Motorsport.com Massa said “It’s very difficult to answer without having tested it.”
“We need to put it in the car and not just do an installation lap. You need to do a proper test, which is the most important thing they need to start doing. And then you have a proper answer.
“If you put it in the car and do just an installation lap it doesn’t work, it’s not the right test.” Massa says the most thing is people understand it adding “It would be nice to have it in the car and to try it at to see if the Halo changes anything for the visibility. I don’t think they need to not put it in the car because it looks ugly.”
Massa reckons it should be exclusively down to the FIA to decide when the Halo is introduced.
Charisma is what many say makes a good leader. So what kind of charisma does Renault need next season?
Renault’s search for ‘charismatic leader’
Cyril Abiteboul the managing director Renault says they are looking for a ‘charismatic leader’ to lead there driver line up for 2017. The French manufacturer is currently looking at their current line up as well as others.
There are two names already being linked to the team Force India’s Sergio Perez and Williams’s Valtteri Bottas as well as the current line-up of Kevin Magnussen or Jolyon Palmer. Speaking to Autosport Abiteboul said “from Renault’s perspective, what we are looking to see is people buying into the long-term project.
“We want them to be able to act as a leader and ambassador for the brand – and leader for the team. It’s not easy when you’re young, so there’s more to come from them [Magnussen and Palmer] with their involvement, in their capacity to take the role of leaders. We need that.”
He said that all the big teams all lean towards charismatic leaders and says Renault will need that at some point. With big names all under contact for 2017 it will be impossible to steel one from another team. Adding “So it’s better we do not rush any decision and take more time to form an opinion about who we have in priority, and that is the best way forward.”
Abiteboul admitted that the team has not provided the drivers with a car to prove themselves this season. Abiteboul is not ruling out Mercedes junior and his team’s current reserve Esteban Ocon.
That’s all from this edition of Reporters