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F1 drivers may boycott F1 licensesUPDATE (GMM) The F1 drivers' representative union, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA), is asking that drivers not renew their mandatory Superlicenses following the latest price rise.
Drivers were already unhappy last year when the sport's governing body, the FIA, raised the price from just 1725 euros plus 456 euros per point to 10,000 euros and 2000 euros per point.
Further enraging the sport's highly-paid stars, who threatened to boycott the 2008 British grand prix over the issue, an inflation increase has now further lifted the flat fee by 400 euros, and 100 euros per point.
In an email, the GPDA has asked drivers not to sign their 2009 licenses or pay the fees, pending the F1 teams' FOTA alliance's next meeting, at which the issue will be discussed, according to the website of the British magazine Autosport.
It is suggested that Max Mosley, who has previously defended the price hikes on the grounds that safety advances most benefit the drivers, is willing to consider the issue but only if the drivers reveal their individual incomes.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton is not a GPDA member, but with the latest price increase his 2009 Superlicense will cost 216,200 euros.
Without the increase, it would cost him 206,000 euros.
01/23/09 F1 drivers have deferred signing their superlicences for the current season following the latest price rise imposed by the FIA. Prior to last season, motor sport's world governing body increased the fee for the superlicense - the document that allows drivers to compete in Formula One - from 1,725 euros (£1,626) to 10,000 euros (£9,430).
The cost of each point won also rose from 456 euros (£430) to 2,000 euros (£1,885). The FIA said the hike was necessary to help cover the escalation in costs of safety measures in F1, primarily for the benefit of the drivers.
After a considerable amount of discontent, and despite suggestions of a strike ahead of the British Grand Prix, the drivers eventually backed down.
For this year, the FIA have imposed a nominal 400 euros (£377) rise on the superlicense that now goes up to 10,400 euros (£9,798), and on each point by 100 euros (£94), so increasing to 2,100 euros (£1,978). With a further levy of 2,720 euros (£2,564) being imposed for compulsory insurance, world champion Lewis Hamilton will this year have to pay a grand total of 218,920 euros (£206,416) to compete in F1.
However, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association which represents the majority of those who race in the sport - Hamilton is not a member - are unhappy at the latest increase. They have told the drivers not to sign their licenses until the issue is resolved, with an exchange of emails having taken place between the GPDA and FIA president Max Mosley of late.
Mosley has apparently indicated he will consider the matter, but only if the drivers provide proof of income, which is a proposition no-one on the grid would entertain. The GPDA have now asked the Formula One Teams' Association to look into the issue at their next meeting early next month. It is understood FOTA members, though, are unimpressed at the prospect of having to discuss such trivial price increases for their drivers who earn vast sums of money.
Given the more pressing need to further cut costs in F1, and the economic crisis around the world in general, it is more likely the drivers will find themselves embarrassed by the matter now it has come to light. Sporting Life
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