8 Feb 2009

F1 drivers balk at driver licence charges

10:32 am on 8 February 2009

Formula One drivers have hit back at the sport's governing body in a row over the increasing cost of the mandatory super-licence they need to go racing.

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association, some of whose members are multi-millionaires, says the hike was unfair and accused the International Automobile Federation of using them as a revenue stream to fill holes in the FIA budget.

The row dates back to last year when the FIA increased the cost of a licence from 1,690 euros [NZ$4,105] to 10,000 [NZ$24,294] with each point costing a further 2,000 euros compared to 447 in 2007.

The charges are due to increase further in line with inflation in 2009.

The GPDA said that would cost McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is not a member of what is effectively a drivers' union, $270,000 [NZ$655,963] for his licence this season.

The GPDA has advised drivers to hold off signing this year's licences pending further talks and said it wanted to clarify the situation after FIA president Max Mosley dismissed the complaints as 'nonsense'.