Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel wants the FIA to engage more actively with Formula 1 drivers on how to improve the sport rather than just ‘ticking the box’. During the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, the four-time Formula One world champion admitted that 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.” – Jean Todt said, as reported by the media in a briefing – “But they have access and very often there is a meeting and they don’t come to a meeting.” The French motor sport executive 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.”
However, Sebastian 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 have 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.”
The German driver added that 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.” – he concluded.