Sebastian Vettel wants the FIA to engage more actively with F1 drivers on how to improve the sport rather than just ‘ticking the box’.
During the Spanish Grand Prix weekend Vettel said it was “comical” the governing body was planning to reduce downforce levels for 2019 having increased them last season. FIA president Jean Todt defended the decision and responded to claims by drivers that they are not consulted on key decisions about the sport’s future.
“I do respect them and I know how busy they can be,” Todt told RaceFans and other media in a briefing. “But they have access and very often there is a meeting and they don’t come to a meeting.”
Todt pointed out there are positions open to drivers in several FIA commissions and that Felipe Massa was recently appointed president of the karting commission. “We are very happy welcoming and encouraging drivers to participate,” said Todt.
However Vettel is sceptical about whether drivers’ input is taken on board.
“In a way it’s good that we’re not making the rules because it’s not our job, we might not enough of an idea. But on the other hand we’re driving the cars, if you want to talk about what the cars need I think it would be an interesting source to just ask us.
“We haven’t really been asked. If we have then it was more to tick that box. ‘Asked’ and ‘listened’ I think is two different things.”
Vettel suggested drivers would not be supportive of the plan to reduce downforce levels for the 2019 F1 season, which is being done to aid overtaking.
“I think it’s normal that everyone’s looking for their own interest. But those decisions… I think no driver appreciates the fact that the cars are getting slower.
“Slowed down by one-and-a-half seconds, does that really help? I think there are some changes you can do to the aero without making the cars slower, that would probably help overtaking.”
Lewis Hamilton called for drivers to have more input into circuit design having criticised the proposed Miami Grand Prix track layout. Todt said the race plans are still at an early stage and drivers will have an opportunity to contribute.
“At the moment we are talking about a race which is [does] not exist,” said Todt. “The commercial rights holder [is] discussing with potential promoters.
“At the moment the are trying to identify if it is possible and where it will be if it is possible. Then when they come, they will come with some drawings. Then our safety department will send somebody there to make an inspection to make some recommendations. So if the drivers have some comments they are more than welcome.”
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