Shut up and drive – Formula One 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve
An open letter published by the normally safety-oriented Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) was described by some media on the end last month as being an “extraordinary revolt” and an “astonishing act of public rebellion”.
Headed by Alex Wurz and current F1 racers Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel, the body described “some recent rule changes” and “some business directions” as “disruptive”.
The letter did not refer to any changes in particular, but claims F1’s current governance “could jeopardise (F1’s) future success”.
Villenueve firmly believes that it’s not their place to make such complaints.
“The way the drivers have been complaining is terrible for F1,” he told Autosport. “It’s not their problem.
“They should just shut up. It’s not their problem how good or bad the show is on TV. They should just get on with their job.
“In a classroom, how many of your classmates would be able to make educated decisions? Not many.
“Take a group of 20 drivers. Take maybe two of them and the rest should just shut up.
“So why would you want to give them power?”
While Villeneuve’s assessment of the sport’s current stars is controversial, his assessment of the recent changes and backflips over its qualifying format contains an equally blunt truth.
“In all the noble sports like tennis and football, the rules haven’t changed in 100 years, even when it is boring, and people respect it,” he said.
“Some days you’ll have great qualifying sessions and some days boring qualifying but that’s the way it goes.”