GPDA says no pressure on Hamilton to join
|By Jonathan Noble||Wednesday, March 19th 2008, 12:39 GMT|
The Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) has said it is not putting any pressure on Lewis Hamilton to join the organisation, despite Jackie Stewart's criticisms of the McLaren driver this week.
Hamilton is one of four F1 race drivers who are not members of the GPDA and Stewart was widely quoted this week as saying he believed it wrong for him not to join up.
Stewart said: "I'm surprised and disappointed that Lewis has not yet joined the GPDA. The GPDA did an immense amount of good. It is wrong and complacent of Lewis not to be involved."
But the GPDA has not backed Stewart's stance and has made it clear that Hamilton is free to do what he wants to do - especially as non-members are still able to help out on safety matters.
GPDA chairman Pedro de la Rosa told autosport.com: "Speaking as chairman of the GPDA, I can say that the GPDA respects Lewis Hamilton and the three other F1 race drivers who aren't members of the GPDA - Kimi Raikkonen, Anthony Davidson and Adrian Sutil.
"Clearly, we look forward to Lewis becoming a GPDA member at some time in the future, and the other three too. But it isn't mandatory to join and it isn't our intention to put pressure on Lewis, as he has always been extremely helpful with any safety issue we have engaged in in the past."
The GPDA meets on the Friday of every grand prix weekend and, although it has dialogue with the FIA, drivers who are not members are also able to speak directly to the sport's governing body about safety matters if it concerns them.
Hamilton has said he does not want to join the GPDA because he feels he does not have enough time to be able to make a positive contribution.