Analysis: How drivers are missing the chance to shape F1's future

Formula 1 drivers may have commented in recent weeks about their desire to be consulted more on future rules, but their degree of influence is already far greater than many are aware of.

In fact, according to FIA sources, drivers already have ample opportunity to be involved in key decision-making meetings, but many never take up the opportunity to join in.

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were two drivers who both mentioned over the pre-season testing period that they believed the men in the cockpit should have more of a say.

Hamilton said: "I think the drivers should be consulted and be involved more. We do have some ideas of what could be better."

Rosberg added: "It makes sense. We are 22 guys, and we also know what is best for the sport and have some great opinions and great ideas."

But is there really no opportunity for them not to get their views across now? Far from it.

Driver meetings

While an informal meeting in the F1 paddock at the Barcelona test between F1 race director Charlie Whiting and the drivers to discuss current matters grabbed the attention last week, it was just the latest in a long series of gatherings between the rule makers and the men out on track.

And this is before you even think about the regular Friday night drivers' briefing at F1 races where the drivers are able to bring up any matters that they think are important.

In fact, as long ago as the Belgian Grand Prix in 2014, all drivers were invited to dinner by Whiting to discuss what they wanted the future of F1 to be.

A total of 14 drivers attended and participated in what was said to be 'constructive discussion' about ideas for the future of the sport.

An F1 driver is invited to every Formula 1 Technical Regulations Meeting and Sporting Regulations Meeting, but the attendance rate is understood to be extremely low.

A current Formula 1 driver has a seat on the FIA Circuit Commission – but the attendance rate is no more than one meeting in four each year.

More recently, as was recently reported, all GPDA drivers were invited to a meeting in Monaco on 21 January this year to discuss several issues – but only two (Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg) attended.

Two further drivers sent emails with their views as they were away on holiday.

Added to all that, F1 race director Whiting's office at race weekends is always open for any driver who wishes to bring up areas of concern.

Ongoing dialogue

It is clear that there are already plenty of opportunities then for drivers to get their views across.

Furthermore, with invites to take part in discussions aimed at framing both technical and sporting rules, they already have the chance to influence future rules even though they may not have the final say.

From the FIA's perspective, it is clear it is doing all it can to accommodate their views – and any suggestion that drivers' opinions do not count is well wide of the mark.

An FIA source said: "The FIA will continue to seek ways to include Formula 1 drivers in the development process of the sport's regulations, and encourages them to make the most of these opportunities.

"Drivers have always been, and will remain, a welcome inclusion in shaping the direction of the sport."

 

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Series Formula 1
Article type Analysis
Tags fia