Three-time F1 champion makes ‘wrong’ claim after Lewis Hamilton remarks

Mercedes driver George Russell is the current head of F1's Grand Prix Drivers' Association.

Three-time Formula 1 World Champion and former chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association Jackie Stewart has called for the GDPA to have “more influence” over decisions regarding the pinnacle of motorsport.

The current head of the GDPA is Mercedes’ George Russell; however, Stewart believes the organisation has less power nowadays, something which is “wrong”, according to the Scotsman.

“I was the President of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, when the GPDA was much more powerful than it is today by the way,” Stewart told Express Sport.

“I think that’s wrong. I think we should have more influence.”

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Unlike today, the GDPA had extraordinary power in the past and was responsible for a number of key decisions made by the sport.

Thanks largely to the GDPA, the Nurburgring was removed from the calendar in 1976, whilst the 1969 Belgian Grand Prix and the 1970 German Grand Prix were both famously boycotted.

The GDPA was actually founded in 1961, with the aim being to improve the safety of the sport for the drivers.

The group did end momentarily but was restarted following the death of Roland Ratzenberger at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, the same Grand Prix that Ayrton Senna also died at.

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Since the GDPA returned, though, it has had significantly less power than when it was first founded, something which resulted in a letter by the organisation to the bosses of the sport in 2016.

Lewis Hamilton has also more recently called for the GPDA to have more say over decisions, with the seven-time World Champion having argued in 2019 that the drivers should have an influence on the aerodynamic regulations that were introduced this year.

To mark Sebastian Vettel’s retirement, all 20 drivers went for a meal prior to the season finale, with Hamilton admitting that a drivers’ meal could become “an annual thing”.

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Hamilton went on to add that the “GDPA can have a role” in the sport’s decision-making, so that it’s doing its “absolute best”.

“Maybe we will make this an annual thing here, and maybe we will add another one in the year, but there is a lot we can do as the GPDA, as a united group,” Hamilton said.

“We have a responsibility, we have a great platform, each and every one of us, collectively, and there are lots of things F1 has to push forward on action-wise.

“It says we are doing a lot of things, sustainability and all of those things, but we need to make sure we are pushing through and doing our absolute best and maybe the GPDA can have a role in that.”