Vettel: GPDA open to licence talks
|By Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, February 10th 2009, 10:50 GMT|
Sebastian Vettel insits that the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) is willing to work with the FIA to seek a solution to its dispute over the superlicence issue - as he plays down talk of a possible strike in Australia.
The GPDA is unhappy about the increases in the fees of the superlicence that have been introduced over the past two seasons, claiming that drivers feel the hike in costs are 'inherently unfair'.
And although FIA president Max Mosley said last week that F1 could brace itself for a quiet Friday at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix if the matter is not sorted by then, Vettel has played down any talk that the drivers are considering a protest.
When asked by the German newspaper Rheinische Post if a strike was possible in Melbourne, Vettel said: "No, I do not see that, because we want to drive.
"Everyone should be careful about how they treat this topic because then we could get headlines saying 'Drivers dissatisfied' or 'Drivers to strike'.
"That (a strike) has never been spoken about. But the fact that we are not happy with how the increases were presented to us has been made clear.
"We are open to cooperate with the FIA. But what happens in the future remains to be seen."
Vettel says that all drivers, including non-GPDA members, are standing firm in the issue as they seek a solution with the FIA.
"This does not only have to do with the GPDA, but it comes from all drivers. The statement we issued summed everything up."
Vettel added that the drivers are upset that the situation has not been resolved despite discussions with the FIA throughout last year.
"Now is the critical phase," he explained. "At the end of last year it appeared that there was nothing else for us to pay, so it annoys us how this whole thing has developed and that it has not been sorted."
Autosport.com understands that the FIA is pressing on with sorting out the superlicence paperwork as normal, despite the drivers saying they will only pay for 2008 and 2009 fees based on the 1690 Euro fee that was levied for 2007.
Teams were reminded as a matter of course this week that the licence applications should be submitted as soon as possible.