F1 drivers clash with new race directors
The "longest briefing of my life"
After a smooth start, Formula 1’s new race directors are beginning to collide with the stars of the sport.
After Michael Masi’s controversial ousting, some believe new co-directors Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas are trying to stamp their authority on the drivers.
In Australia, Sebastian Vettel was fined EUR 5000 for riding a scooter back to the pitlane after being stranded trackside following an incident.
"How do I feel about it? What do you think?" said the quadruple world champion.
"I’d like to know where this money will go."
Veteran correspondent Roger Benoit revealed in Blick newspaper that the drivers endured a particularly long pre-event briefing in Melbourne, in which the wearing of jewellery and fireproof underwear were discussed at length.
Lewis Hamilton said he intends to keep ignoring the rule about taking out his piercings.
"Since I’ve been here, it’s been the rule, so there’s nothing new," said the Mercedes driver. "I’m just going to come up with more jewellery next week."
Hamilton also slammed the FIA for obsessing about minute safety details but then not wearing surgical masks in the "longest briefing of my life".
"Some of the drivers were (wearing masks) but most of the FIA were not, which for me was uncomfortable," said the seven time world champion.
Benoit believes Hamilton, 37, even got into a "verbal argument" with race director Wittich.
As for the drivers being told that they need to wear fireproof underwear under their suits, Pierre Gasly says he is looking forward to the next scrutineering checks.
"If they want to control everything, absolutely everything, then go ahead.
"I have nothing to hide below. Nothing at all," the Alpha Tauri driver smiled.
Daniel Ricciardo told Finland’s MTV: "We wear tights, if you want to call them that, but we don’t have any actual fireproof underwear, so it was a bit of a surprise.
"I’ve never heard of that but if it’s safer then of course I’ll have to get some."