Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hamilton rules himself out of drivers' strike

Briton Lewis Hamilton on Friday ruled himself out of joining a possible strike by Formula One drivers at next month's British Grand Prix.
Talk of a strike has escalated this week amid rumours that the drivers are concerned at the rising cost of their super-licences, a mandatory qualification for racing at the top level.
But Hamilton, who on Thursday made comments during a news conference that suggested his support for a possible strike, on Friday clarified his position.
Hamilton said: "In the FIA press conference at Magny-Cours on Thursday June 19, I expressed my support for whatever decisions the drivers may take, on the basis that my support could be critical.
"I am not involved in any strike talks; that is not my position. I am here to race; to do my job for the team, for myself and for the fans of Formula One.
"To put my comment in the correct perspective, another driver said, 'I think it will be difficult to get all the drivers to have the same idea, but we're trying to convince the FIA to reduce the cost.'
"I then responded, 'I've always said that they have my support; and it's something I agree with as well.'
"In any case, I don't believe for one minute that the drivers will take such drastic measures. We have the British Grand Prix in a couple of weeks' time and other Grands Prix to follow, and I'm certainly not planning on missing any of them."
Hamilton, arguably the highest profile driver racing in Formula One, is not a member of the drivers' union, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, though the association has tried many times to persuade him to join.
Earlier this year, also, Hamilton made comments about the steep rise in costs of a super-licence for the drivers.
Two of the GPDA's directors Spaniard Fernando Alonso and Australian Mark Webber played down talk of a strike at Silverstone, but confirmed that they are taking the issue very seriously.
Webber said: "It's absolutely clear that we are not happy with the super-licence situation and how much they charge, but I find it very unrealistic to think that we won't race at Silverstone."
The drivers are angry at the FIA's decision in January to increase licence fees to 10,000 euros plus 2,000 euros extra per point scored. Leading drivers will be paying in excess of 200,000 euros from now on.

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