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DATE News (chronologically)
02/11/09
f1
Drivers hit back in license row  UPDATE #2 Although the Grand Prix Drivers' Association is advising its members not to agree to the new Superlicences charges, the campaigning will be undermined somewhat by the suggestion that three drivers have already paid up and applied for their licenses. There is currently no word on which drivers are involved. Grandprix.com

02/07/09 (GMM) F1's driver representative body has hit back at Max Mosley in their dispute over expensive Superlicences.

Every driver must obtain a Superlicense from the sport's governing FIA, but last year the price was spiked by between 200 and 350 per cent.

A further increase in line with inflation has enraged the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, moving the GPDA to ask the 2009 field to hold off paying the fees.

FIA president Max Mosley this week dismissed their position as "silly" and "nonsense", arguing that it is the high-earning drivers benefitting from safety advances while living in tax havens.

In a statement of response issued late Friday, the GPDA - claiming their license is the most expensive in the world of sport - said the recent price-hikes are "inherently unfair" and "unreasonable".

The body also responded to Mosley's position that he will only consider the issue if the drivers reveal precise details about their earnings.

"A letter was sent by the GPDA in December declining the request because it was not relevant to ascertaining the appropriate Super Licence fees," the statement said.

"Furthermore, drivers' gross (and net) earnings are confidential to the drivers, their management and financial advisors and any relevant tax authorities, and should be respected as such."

The GPDA said increases to their fees should cover only "administrative" costs rather than be "a revenue stream" for the Paris based federation.

"The FIA should raise sufficient funds from the exploitation of its commercial rights," the drivers continued.

"As a principle, the drivers should not be taxed to fund the costs of others fulfilling their legal duty to the drivers," they said.

02/07/09 In the wake of recent misreporting of the drivers' issue with the FIA regarding their Super License fees in certain sections of the media, and in response to Mr. Mosley's latest comments, the Drivers wish to clarify the following:

In January 2008, the FIA unilaterally increased the Formula One drivers' fees for holding a Super License. The basic Super License fee for the 2008 season increased from EUR 1,690 in 2007 to EUR 10,000 representing a rise of nearly five-fold. In addition, the points' fees which are paid concurrently with the basic Super License fee increased from EUR 447 per point in 2007 to EUR 2,000 in 2008, an increase by a factor of nearly 3.5.

These increases were made without any prior consultation with the drivers, and the first the drivers knew of the increases was when the invoices were received by their respective teams and via the media in January 2008. The proposed increases are inherently unfair, both in the way they were introduced and the way they impact on individual drivers. zzzz

Since these increases were introduced by the FIA, they have been opposed unanimously by the drivers because they are unreasonable and unfair. The GPDA has - on behalf of all drivers holding Super Licenses including the non-GPDA members - appropriately and professionally sought to resolve the issue privately with the FIA throughout the 2008 season, culminating in a meeting with Mr. Mosley at the Italian Grand Prix last September which opened up the way for further discussion.

This included a request from the FIA to the drivers to disclose their gross earnings. However, Mr. Mosley is incorrect in his claim to the media that he had not received an answer from the drivers as a letter was sent by the GPDA in December declining the request because it was not relevant to ascertaining the appropriate Super License fees. Furthermore, drivers' gross (and net) earnings are confidential to the drivers, their management and financial advisors and any relevant tax authorities, and should be respected as such.

In fact, Mr. Mosley himself alluded to such confidentiality in recent correspondence with the GPDA. On the subject of whether the Super License is paid by the team or the individual, Mr. Mosley concluded it was a private contractual matter between the driver and his team, and not a matter for the FIA.

The drivers are not opposed to a reasonable increase in the Super License fees, the fee which should cover the administrative and other costs relating to the issue of the license.

Therefore, the drivers have offered to pay the 2007 Super License fees adjusted upwards by inflation for the 2008 season with a corresponding increase for the 2009 season.

In addition, the drivers have offered to explore fair ways in which they can assist the FIA in raising funds to meet the apparent EUR 1.7 million shortfall required to run the Federation in 2008 and a further EUR 3 million shortfall that will be required in 2009, according to the figures cited by Mr. Mosley at Monza.

The drivers contend that the Super License fees should not be a revenue stream for the FIA and such a change constitutes a major departure in principle for both past Super License fees and fees for any other drivers' licenses. The FIA should raise sufficient funds from the exploitation of its commercial rights.

As a principle, the drivers should not be taxed to fund the costs of others fulfilling their legal duty to the drivers. It is the teams' duty to provide the driver with a safe car, it is the circuit owners' duty to provide a safe circuit and it is the duty of the manufacturers to provide helmets, fireproof overalls, etc. fit for the purpose of safety. The FIA, as the governing body, has a duty to impose safety regulations and to supervise through licensing the parties carrying out their duties, e.g. licensing a circuit. The licensing process for drivers is to ensure that the drivers are competent to race at the level necessary in Formula One.

Figures
Already in 2007, the F1 Super License was the most expensive License payable by any sportsperson in the world

In one year and without prior notice, it went up between 200% (basic fee) and 350% (fee per point)

The winner of the 2008 F1 World Championship will have to pay $270,000

The closest License Fee in the world is NASCAR in which each driver pays $4,000 per season

The FIA qualifies the drivers' contribution to the running of the Federation to a total of EUR 1.7 million per season via our Super License fees.

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