Ecclestone hits back at 'windbag' drivers

Fri Apr 1, 2016 7:35pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MANAMA (Reuters) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at drivers for seeking change in the way the sport is run, suggesting they were powerless and simply doing the bidding of their teams.

The Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) issued an open letter last week urging the sport to abandon 'obsolete and ill-structured' decision-making processes that stood in the way of progress.

It was signed by former world champions and GPDA directors Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel as well as chairman Alex Wurz, an ex-F1 racer, and addressed also to stakeholders and fans.

"They can say what they like can't they? They can't do anything," Ecclestone told reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday when asked about the drivers' desire to have a say.

"They can give an opinion. Everyone has got an opinion. Really their discussions are with their team and the team has got a voice," added the 85-year-old.

"They are only saying what the teams have told them to say."

Asked whether he considered them to be 'windbags', Ecclestone replied: 'Some of them'.

In a feisty exchange, the Formula One boss was also cutting when it was put to him that the drivers were not looking to put on a show of strength.   Continued...

McLaren Formula One driver Jenson Button (C) of Britain speaks to media at paddock area after  the qualifying session of the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan, September 26, 2015.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai