Q & A with Mark Webber
|By Simon Strang||Thursday, June 19th 2008, 17:32 GMT|
As a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, Mark Webber has always been more than willing to speak up about issues that many of Formula One's racers hold close to their heart.
So with mounting controversy about the rising superlicence fees, and even talk of a strike at the British Grand Prix, autosport.com heard from Webber about the situation.
Q. What's going on with this driver's strike?
Mark Webber: It's the first I have heard of it. It's absolutely clear that we are not happy with the superlicence situation, and how much they charge, but I find it very unrealistic that we won't race.
Q. It would be difficult to convince the punters as well, given the salaries that you earn...
MW: It is a hard argument to make. I think it's the way it came in that annoyed some of the drivers.
Q. What did the FIA do then?
MW: Well they just decided between themselves. And then sent an invoice to the drivers. We had our hands tied behind our backs and it was agreed by none of the drivers. We are being charged that amount and we will be charged that amount.
Q. If strike action isn't realistic, what is a sensible way to move forward on this issue?
MW: Just have a chat with Bernie, he's got common sense, see what he says. See if we can improve the situation and make it a bit more professional.
Q. Do you expect that to happen this weekend or at Silverstone?
MW: Well Bernie comes to the races so that's useful. In the next few weeks. It's not on the top of my list, I want to get some points in Magny-Cours. I am not thinking about striking. I think every now and again we need to have a chat with the big cheeses and maybe this is what will chat about.
Q. Why Bernie and not Max Mosley?
MW: We can't get a meeting with Max, and we can see Bernie a lot easier, so it makes sense to go to him. Pick it up with him to start with.
Q. Do you think the FIA takes drivers seriously on these sort of things?
Q. Do you think they should try harder?
MW: No I don't think they are bothered. It's not on their radar. They have got loads of other things going through, so a few hundred grand coming through from the drivers is not a big deal. We accept that but we are not happy, and we are just looking to find a way to see if they can compromise on it.
Q. Are your licences not issued by your ASN as opposed to the FIA?
MW: Yeah CAMS issue my license. But the licenses have got the FIA stamp in the corner. CAMS don't issue the superlicence. It's not a Bernie issue but at least we might get some answers.
Q. Would go on strike for anything other than a safety issue?
MW: Course you would yeah. It's not always about safety. But this is not a reason in my opinion. It's not going to change my life. But the morals of it, that is what is a bit disappointing.
You can't threaten these guys. You just don't do it. We all love the sport, we love it. We strive to get here and we strive to be here, we don't want it to look like that. We don't want to look like prima donnas. The public needs to understand how some of these things get decided. Yes we are looked after financially and paid quite well but Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't pay 300 grand a year to play football, on top of his license to walk on the pitch.
Q. But he doesn't need safety when he is practicing on the warm-up pitch pre-season.
MW: No totally, Formula One is a different sport, and we are fine for that. There has to be a bill to pay to get your license, people have to do the paperwork, people have to turn it around, that's fine. But to go from 2,000 to 10,000, or whatever it was...