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Grosjean replaces Button as GPDA director

NEWS STORY
04/05/2017

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association has revealed that Romain Grosjean is to replace Jenson Button as a director.

The 'drivers' union' issued a statement earlier revealing that at its meeting in Sochi last weekend, the Haas driver was elected to replace Button as he is no longer a permanent F1 driver, though the 2009 world champion will contest the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix.

"I am proud to have been elected by my peers as director of the GPDA," said Grosjean. "We race drivers don't always hold the same opinion, but as a group we are united in wanting the best for our sport.

"I believe we have an important role and duty to coordinate between each other and support the stakeholders in the evolution of the sport," he added.

"It was a pleasure working with Jenson over the past few years as he always put the interests of the drivers and the sport first," said GPDA chairman, Alex Wurz. "Thanks JB for all your effort!

"Over recent years Romain has been a very active GPDA member," he added. "He has a lot of energy and thoughts about our sport and Sebastian and I welcome him as a great addition to the Grand Prix Drivers Association board."

For the most part, the GPDA has been ineffectual since it was reformed in 1994 in the wake of the events at Imola.

While the drivers are the men at the coalface, the ones putting their lives on the line, they have remained largely silent while the sport's 'politicians' have pushed through various regulation changes with barely any recognition of the drivers' role and the GPDA, in turn, rarely speaking out.

The choice of Grosjean is particularly interesting. At a time the FIA is seeking to introduce the Shield in preference to the Halo device, the Frenchman recently admitted that he is a purist and is against any such device.

Asked at last weekend's press conference which of the FIA's proposed devices he preferred, he replied: "Can we choose nothing.

"I haven't been a big fan of the Halo and I'm not a huge fan of the Shield either," he admitted. "I don't want to stop the safety, I think safety in Formula One has to be the number one priority but I don't want to change what I've known as Formula One since ever and the next step is to put a closed canopy on top of the helmet and I don't want to see Formula One being closed cars."

On the other hand, if the Frenchman, in representing his fellow drivers, can be half as vocal as he is when complaining to his team over the radio during race weekends, he might yet cause the powers that be to listen.

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