The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association – the so-called F1 drivers’ union – is to convene at Interlagos this weekend as members admit concern at a number of aspects of the sport.
Top of the agenda is tyres, and the increasing need for tyre management, along with the gap between the top three teams and the rest.
The recent Mexican Grand Prix was widely cited as a confusing disappointment as from the outset drivers were forced to manage their tyres.
While Pirelli has consistently gone along with the wishes of the sport’s powers-that-be producing tyres that deliberately degrade, it is this ‘manipulation’ for the benefit of ‘the show’ that caused Michelin not to bid for the franchise when the Italian manufacturer’s contract comes to an end next year.
“I don’t think anyone ever seems to be satisfied,” Daniel Ricciardo told reporters at Interlagos today. “They wanted a tyre we can race harder on for longer, and I feel now we’re nearly getting that. But I don’t know how to have a tyre that we can push hard on but is going to degrade, so we can still do a two or three-stop. I feel we’re just going to drive slower, like we’re doing now.”
“It’s not only tyres,” said Romain Grosjean. “I feel, and I don’t speak for everyone else, but I feel like we need to give our feedback and maybe try to do a bit more because the races aren’t fun.
“P6 in Mexico is two laps down,” he added. “How do you hope to see a midfield car on the podium if they are one or two laps down?
“The delta between the big teams and the small teams is too big,” he insisted. “Plus the tyres being so complicated to understand, to drive, if you don’t have the downforce you destroy them and you open the gap again.”
This weekend’s meeting of the GPDA, according to the Frenchman, who is a director of the organisation, is to get the general opinion of the drivers, and should there be agreement on the various issues a more formal approach will be taken, with the drivers’ views and recommendations presented to F1’s powers-that-be as well as fans and the media.
“If we get to somewhere where everyone is happy with what we have discussed, and we have got bullet points, then we should move them forward to you guys, to Liberty or whoever,” said Grosjean. It’s important we don’t sit back and don’t do anything for the sport we love.”