Drivers in 'Super Licence' dispute

Strike talk in the air at Magny-Cours

Formula One drivers gathering for this weekend's French Grand Prix have expressed their concerns about the cost of the 'Super Licence' they need to compete.

Up until recently, the licence cost 1,354, plus an additional 357 for each point a driver earned.

However, FIA president Max Mosley introduced new levies at the start of the season of 7,858 for the licence and 1,570 per point.

The new legislation was imposed retrospectively, meaning Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, who battled for the 2007 Drivers' Championship, all paid around 180,000 for the privilege.

Mosley feels that amount is not a lot to ask from multi-millionaire drivers who benefit from high levels of spending on safety.

But the Grand Prix Drivers' Association are up in arms, with Alonso saying: "It's a ridiculous amount. We should pay a reasonable price. It cannot change 1,000 percent in a year."

The word 'strike' was even being bandied about the Magny-Cours paddock on Thursday, with Alonso adding: "We don't have many possibilities.

"But for sure it's one of the options we are talking about in the GPDA. We need to do something all together because as a group we have more effect than as a single person."

However, Red Bull driver, and fellow senior GPDA member, David Coulthard contradicted Alonso, saying: "There's not going to be a strike. That's rubbish!"

Neverthless, Coulthard claimed that the new system of levying should be addressed, adding: "Not every driver pays his super licence. Some of the drivers have an agreement in their contract where the team pay the super licence.

"As it's a form of income for the FIA they have decided "Well, we will take part of that from the drivers".

"But it's affecting some and not others, which is not entirely fair, so it needs to be discussed and understood."


The drivers were scheduled to meet Mosley in Monaco, although due to the furore surrounding the 68-year-old at the time, the meeting was postponed - a move that prompted Coulthard's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber to suggest the FIA president was ducking the issue.

However, an FIA spokesman confirmed that Mosley wrote to the GPDA on June 6th stating he would be happy to meet with them, and to name a time and venue, but he has yet to receive a reply.

When the meeting takes place, the GPDA will seek a compromise as there is a feeling that, if they are contributing towards safety, then the more successful drivers should not be penalised.

Robert Kubica, who currently leads the drivers' standings ahead of Sunday's race, said: "I agree with what Fernando has said about the cost of the super licence.

"It has increased quite a lot compared to last year. We think it's too much. Yet drivers who don't have quick cars and are not scoring points don't care because they don't pay, so we are trying to convince the FIA to reduce the costs.

"The FIA says the money goes to safety, and I agree safety is important.

"If the standard of safety increased then in the end we should pay for it because there is quite a high risk of an accident.

"Given my accident last year, and Heikki's (Kovalainen) this year, it shows the FIA are doing a very good job on safety.

"But I don't see why some drivers have to pay more. In the end we are all driving F1 cars."