The F1 drivers and the FIA

THERE is likely to be a kerfuffle in the next two weeks between the international automobile federation (FIA) and the Formula 1 drivers. The drivers are unhappy with the latest version of the FIA superlicence application form which they have to sign if they wish to race in F1. The changes made by the FIA this year are an attempt to protect the governing body against possible legal actions from drivers and their families in the event of accidents.

Matters have not been helped by the FIA's decision not to have anything further to do with the Grand Prix Drivers Association. The GPDA was reformed at Monaco in 1994 in the wake of Ayrton Senna's death at Imola but has done little since, although Gerhard Berger has played an important role with the FIA Advisory Expert Group and Michael Schumacher has a seat on the FIA Safety Commission.

However, FIA President Max Mosley recently revealed that he has stopped all negotiation with the GPDA after discovering that it was sending him letters which had been drafted by the International Management Group, which manages sportsmen in many disciplines and is involved in F1 with Schumacher, David Coulthard and Johnny Herbert.

Mosley challenged Schumacher on the subject and was told that the IMG men had been working in their spare time - as a favor to the drivers. Mosley does not seem to have taken that claim very seriously and says that while he is always happy to talk to any drivers who wish to speak with him, he does not want to deal with an organization when he does not now who is running it.

Traditionally drivers gripe at every change made to the Superlicence Application form, but as they do not get a license if they do not sign and they cannot agree on common action - such as a drivers' strike - involving all of them, the problems are usually solved by compromise, which means that the FIA always gets what it wants.

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