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Drivers to go on strike?

NEWS STORY
19/06/2008

As Britain looks forward to a summer, and possibly winter, of discontent, with all manner of workers threatening to strike unless their demands are met, there is speculation that Grand Prix drivers could join in the fun.

It's understood that the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) has called a meeting with FIA President Max Mosley ahead of the forthcoming British Grand Prix as drivers seek a reduction in the fees they pay for their licences.

As Pitpass reported in January, previously, the basic fee for a superlicence was 1,725 euros (approx £1,285) plus an additional 456 euros (£340) for each additional point scored the previous season. However, this year the FIA has opted to increase the basic cost of the licence to 10,000 euros (£7,451) plus a further 2,000 euros (£1,490) for each point scored the previous year.

Speaking in January, Mosley said: "We spend a fortune on safety and most of it is for the benefit of the drivers. A lot of the people who have otherwise been meeting the bill said 'Hang on a minute, these drivers are all earning megabucks and we are spending a fortune to try and make sure they are safe.' So hence the increase."

"The thing is, if someone is earning 30 million or whatever some of them earn, it's not so bad," he added. "If you are down the back end, if you haven't got a point, it's 10,000 euros. To people earning their kind of money, it's not a drama. I'd settle for that, if someone said you can have 20 million if you pay 250,000 for a licence."

The GPDA claims that some drivers are being hit particularly hard, citing Robert Kubica as an example. The Pole, certainly not one of the highest paid drivers on the grid, will be forced to pay heavily for his 2008 superlicence thanks to the fact that he is leading the World Championship with 42 points.

Consequently, there is talk of strike action, should Mosley prove unwilling to listen to the drivers' demands.

A leading driver, who did not want to be identified, said: "It's bleeding outrageous guv. I mean, 'ows a bloke to manage? I've got me Monaco apartments, me chalet in Gstaad, the island in Dubai and the ranch in Wingo-Wango. Not to mention me membership of Flav's club.

"I mean, what does this Mosley geezer think we're made of? Does he know how far £20m really goes these days, 'as he tried living on such a pittance?

"We were going to organise some sort of whip round," the driver revealed, "but when Max got to 'ear about it, 'ee got the wrong idea and was straight on the blower asking where it was taking place.

"We don't want to strike guvnor, 'onest, it's the last fing we want to do, but it's the bleedin' principal, look at the rising prices of fuel, do you know how much it cost to run me two private jets? Bleedin' disgraceful it is, how's a poor F1 driver meant to manage?"

And with that our impoverished pilot returned to his Bugatti Type 41 Royale (complete with personalised numberplate), while his PA took up position on the picket line... "What do we want, more dosh! When do we want it, now!"

One's heart bleeds for them.

The (anticipated) 2008 fees can be found here

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