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Massa Joins Raikkonen, Hamilton & Sutil By Leaving GPDA

Massa Joins Raikkonen, Hamilton & Sutil By Leaving GPDA

It seems the GPDA is in a bit if a kerfuffle at the moment. Last season some drivers hit out at Lewis Hamilton for not becoming a member, and recently Adrian Sutil and Kimi Raikkonen have come under critiscm for choosing to not be a part of the group. And now Felipe Massa can add his name to the list of drivers who do not concern themselves with the ‘union’ of Formula One racing drivers.

Last week Jarno Trulli took a swipe at those drivers who didn’t take part in the GPDA, saying that they were not interested in safety concerns, and Mark Webber has criticised Hamilton in the past. Speaking to Reuters, the Toyota driver had this to say:

Every driver should be a member because we are talking about our safety. You want to contribute. Everyone should have his own opinion, we are listening to everybody and trying to follow the best for all of us, not for one of us. […]

If you don’t want to be part of the GPDA, it just means that you don’t want to be part of the safety improvement. […]

I don’t want to oblige anybody but everyone who is driving an F1 car should be responsible enough to understand what is happening and why GPDA was born and what it is doing.

And apparently, there are some who don’t really care and this is what is upsetting me because they are ignoring the situation. They get in the car and benefit from the work of everybody else and from the money that everybody else has put in. Jarno Trulli.

Felipe Massa’s decision to leave the group was put down to the way it was run. Massa told Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, that he did agree with the work they do, just not the way everything was organised.

I agree with the good things the GPDA does and I was part of it, but I left because I didn’t always like the way it was run. Felipe Massa.

Ultimately, I feel it is up to the drivers if they want to be involved or not. Some drivers, like perhaps Raikkonen, simply couldn’t care about what the GPDA are doing. I’m not suggesting that is actually what he thinks, but given that he often says he won’t be around in the sport for too long, I get the distinct impression Kimi just wants to get on with his driving. Opposing this though are drivers like David Coulthard and Mark Webber, who fervently believe the safety aspect of the sport should be continuously improved. Both sides are right. Therefore, I think it should be up to the drivers. And it is. So perhaps Trulli should focus on his driving and the actual aspect of raising matters of safety rather than whining about other drivers?

Oliver White

5 comments

  • The thing is that the GPDA needs to have the majority of F1 drivers in it, otherwise its power (which is based on conveying the opinion of the drivers as a group) is greatly diminished. As a director of the GPDA, Jarno is right to be concerned at the falling membership. With Sato and Davidson not technically eligible at the moment, there are now only sixteen members of the group. Massa’s move also means Ferrari is not represented at the GPDA at all. With Bernie and Max openly favouring Ferrari, any organisation that does not clearly represent Ferrari’s interests is at a serious political disadvantage.

    The decision to be part of the GPDA may be down to personal choice, but somehow the drivers have got to convey their interests or else they will be ignored. Since Hamilton, Sutil, Raikkonen and Massa haven’t found a way of doing so between them, so a healthy GPDA remains in the drivers’ self-interest – even those who choose to be independent of it.

  • Just noticed, the title of this post is a little mis-leading. Hamilton and Sutil have never been members of the GPDA as far as I’m aware, although I’m not sure about Raikkonen. Either way Massa is following the others in the sense that he is not a member of the GPDA.

    Great comment Alianora. Isn’t Pedro De La Rosa a member of the GPDA? Therefore, I would have to suggest that they allow test drivers to be involved. Or maybe it is because PDLR has driven in a fair few races and is considered with relative ‘authoritiveness’.

    …Therefore, going along those lines, Davidson and Sato might still be involved. Although what they would benefit from it right now is questionable.

    Edit: GPDA Wiki. PDLR is the chairman, but possibly because he is experienced in racing, although not actually currently racing.

  • I believe reserve drivers are allowed to join the GPDA on the same terms as the race drivers. After all, they too benefit from many of the measures, such as improved safety in tests. However, I don’t think Pedro’s experience was the reason for his becoming chairman so much as nobody else could be found who was willing to take on the responsibility.

    Davidson and Sato technically have no positions at all in current F1 teams, so I would have thought they were ineligible. However, since they’ve probably paid their fees for the year already, I can’t see anyone complaining if they continue to turn up for meetings or do other things to help the GPDA.

  • Hehe, yeah, Lady Snowcat suggested PDLR was voted in while he was with his wife at the hospital as she gave birth to their third daughter. Cheeky little bounders, those F1 drivers are! 😉

    That does make sense (I forgot that PDLR was a reserve driver, which is a bit different to a test driver). Indeed, Davidson and Sato are unlikely to get a refund on their £2000 admission fee, but right now I think they have more pressing matters on their minds, like future employment.

  • “David Coulthard and Mark Webber, who fervently believe the safety aspect of the sport should be continuously improved”

    I’d want better safety too, if I was driving an RB4 ;-). Kidding, kidding.

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