Button: GPDA letter about drivers helping F1

Jenson Button says Formula 1 drivers have spoken out about its troubled rules structure not to flex political muscles, but because they care about making the sport better.

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) published an open letter last week calling for reform because it believed F1's current governance structure was 'obsolete'.

Although some have questioned the drivers' real motivation behind speaking out, GPDA director Button says that the key factor pushing them forwards is their passion for F1 and determination not to see it lose its place at the pinnacle of motorsport.

"The important thing is, and the reason behind the letter is, to show that we care and that we are very passionate about the sport," he said.

"We grew up loving F1, and dreaming of being in an F1 car - racing against the best drivers in the world.

"We are very emotional about our decisions, which sometimes isn't the best, but you do need emotion when it comes to the way a sport should work and our input could be very useful.

"As drivers we are not putting a statement out to show how strong we are as drivers. It is not the aim. To be fair most of us don't care about that."

He added: "We are putting out a statement because we think we can help: we can help the sport we love very much and we think we can make it a better sport for the fans, for us, for the whole of F1.

"We need to keep the fan base, we want the fan base to grow, we want youngsters to love the sport with the short attention span most kids have these days – with phones.

"We need to make the sport more exciting than it is."

Hamilton supports GPDA

The GPDA's letter has been backed by the majority of its members, and even non-member Lewis Hamilton has said he fully supports what his rivals are doing.

"I am not a member of the GPDA - I was for some years and then opted out, but I was in the meeting [in Australia] where we all sat and collectively stood together," he said.

"So we all stand together as drivers on certain issues and there are occasionally issues that a united front is necessary. And this is one of them."

Hamilton says he feels more and more that F1 is not making the most of the opportunities it has to be successful – which is why he says drivers could not just sit back and let the decline happen.

"I think our objective is not to be the decision makers," he added. "We don't want to be the decision makers, we are the only ones out there who can know what more is needed in order to make racing fun.

"All us drivers are doing what we do today because we love the sport, we love cars, we love racing, we love wheel-to-wheel racing.

"We pretty much started in go karting and aspired to be like the greats of the past. When you are now driving and not challenged in the way that we should be challenged – whether it be physically or mentally or whatever it is by the car, plus decisions that have been taken, for the rules, have been taken in the direction that keep going in the wrong direction - we cannot just stand still and let it happen.

"People are falling out of love with the sport and ultimately it would lead to you guys [the media] and also us [not loving F1 any more]. We don't want that because it has the opportunity to be the greatest sport in the world."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button
Teams McLaren
Article type Breaking news
Tags gpda