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Grosjean: Drivers need to be united

NEWS STORY
17/05/2017

Such were the numerous incidents he was involved in, not least nearly removing Fernando Alonso's head in an insane crash at the start of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix - a move that saw the Frencmhan handed the first race ban since Michael Schumacher in 1994 - that his election to the role of director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association recently appeared to officially mark the fact that Romain Grosjean has come of age.

Though clearly gifted, in the early stages of his F1 career Grosjean was involved in so many needless incidents, the Frenchman - dubbed a "first lap nutcase" by Mark Webber - sought the help of a sport psychologist.

All that seems a lifetime ago now however, as Grosjean leads the Haas team and is regarded by many of his colleagues as one of the sport's elder statesmen.

Just a couple of weeks into his new role however, Grosjean has admitted his frustration at the number of fellow drivers who have chosen not to join the GPDA, which is effectively seen as the drivers' union, its united voice when dealing with the likes of the FIA and the Commercial Rights Holder.

"Some just don't give a damn," he told Reuters, "and I think it's the wrong point of view.

"There's a big change in Formula One and if we were 20 drivers - out of 20 drivers racing - in the GPDA, then we could have a very strong impact. We need to be united to do something.

"I'll tell you exactly who isn't in," he adds, as he picks up his mobile phone. "We are missing Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Stroll, Massa, Wehrlein, Sirotkin, Celis and then Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and di Resta."

In fact Grosjean himself left the GPDA a couple of years back but subsequently rejoined last year when the body was arguing the case for an improvement to Pirelli's wet tyres.

Ironically, recalling the fact that Jolyon Palmer quit the union last year because he is not in favour of the Halo device, Grosjean too has argued against the move insisting that it is not in the sport's DNA.

"The first thing I did when I came to Formula One was to join in because I wanted to be part of the group. I am surprised that so many aren't but we're working on it.

"We all are going to have different opinions, but we need to be united in our sport," he insists. "Liberty will listen more to us, and that's what we want. We want the same thing as Liberty and the FIA, we want the sport to be as successful as it can be. As good as it can be. As safe as it can be.

"We actually drive the cars, so yes, the GPDA could be very important in the new future for Formula One."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Francis, 18/05/2017 15:16

"A union is only effective if the members are unified and as a group willing to withdraw their services in exchange for reforms and improvements including money. Yet we know there are extreme discrepancies in driver salaries and terms of service and the GPDA has been powerless to step in and stop that travesty. Sadly, modern formula one drivers are too self-absorbed to risk their "exalted" status for the collective good. The GPDA should instead concentrate on being a licensing organization with the aim of managing and protecting the marketing rights of its members so that when FOM tries to sell their product to a third party, the GPDA will be able to step up and make sure the drivers get a cut of the action. That is one of the primary rolls of organizations like The Major League Baseball Players Association or The National Football League Players Association, etc."

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