GPDA threaten with driver's strike on licence fees

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The Formula One drivers are threatening to boycott the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next month if nothing is done to alleviate the cost of the super licences. These are obligatory to drive in the series and have been made more costly by the FIA at the beginning of this season.

Previous to 2008, superlicences cost drivers just 1,690 euro plus 447 euro per point scored in the most recent world championship. But the World Motor Sport Council in January approved an increase in the cost of a superlicense to 10,000 euro with an additional 2,000 euro per point scored in the previous season.

It means that reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen’s 2008 license cost 230,000 euros.

The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) have therefore requested an urgent meeting with FIA president Max Mosley within the next two weeks. An FIA spokesman meanwhile confirmed that Mosley replied to the GPDA's letter earlier this month and agreed to meet with the drivers at a time and venue of their choosing. So far, according to the spokesman, the GPDA have not replied.

Earlier today at Magny-Cours, Fernando Alonso mentioned that there's a possibility that if the worst came to the worst, the drivers could go on strike. World Champion Raikkonen, Hamilton and Massa reacted to that statement during the official press conference in light of the French Grand Prix:

Robert Kubica: "Well, I agree with what Fernando has said about the costs of the super licence which has increased quite a lot compared to last year, I think eight times, or something like that. It's quite a lot of money, especially if you are scoring points like Lewis did last year and it's your first year in Formula One. But another point is that experienced drivers who don't have a quick car are not scoring points, so they don't care because they don't have to pay. So I think it will be difficult to get all drivers to have the same idea but we are trying to convince the FIA to reduce the cost."

Lewis Hamilton: "I've always said that even though I'm not a member of the GPDA, I've always said that they have my support and it's something I agree with as well."

Felipe Massa: "It's the first time that I've heard that, I didn't hear about it before because I was in Brazil, but if it's what Robert says, for sure I support (them) one hundred percent because I don't see a reason for the price to be different for the top drivers and the guys who are in smaller teams. I think the super licence has to be the same for everybody."

Kimi Raikkonen: "For sure I support (them). Of course it's better if it's not so expensive and it's the same for everybody, but I don't think there's any reason to go on strike and not race. I don't think that's the right way to go but it would be nice if we could reduce it."