The Grand Prix Drivers' Association has hit back at the FIA's plan to increase the fee for a mandatory superlicence, branding the move as 'inherently unfair'.
Substantial rises in the price of a superlicence over the past two seasons has generated an outcry amongst the Formula 1 drivers, although it is this year's rise in line with inflation that has seen the GPDA advise them not to sign for their licenses just yet.
Coming in the week that FIA president Max Mosley dismissed the drivers' concerns as 'nonsense', the GPDA are accusing the FIA of using this as a smokescreen to make up revenue shortfalls in their budget.
Last year, the FIA increased the cost of a license from 1,690 euros ($2,165) to 10,000 euros, while each point would see them pay an additional 2,000 euros, up from 447 euros in 2007.
Pointing out that 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who isn't a member of the GPDA, would have had to pay $270,000 for the superlicence he needs in order to go racing, they have aired their misgivings in a hard-hitting statement aimed squarely at the likelihood of further increases.
“These increases were made without any prior consultation with the drivers, and the first the drivers knew of the increases was when the invoices were received by their respective teams and via the media in January 2008,” it said in a statement. “The proposed increases are inherently unfair, both in the way they were introduced and the way they impact on individual drivers.
“Since these increases were introduced by the FIA, they have been opposed unanimously by the drivers because they are unreasonable and unfair.
Part of the disagreement also stems from the request by Mosley for drivers to make their earnings public knowledge, something the GPDA is refusing to co-operate with.
“The GPDA has - on behalf of all drivers holding Super Licences including the non-GPDA members - appropriately and professionally sought to resolve the issue privately with the FIA throughout the 2008 season, culminating in a meeting with Mr. Mosley at the Italian Grand Prix last September which opened up the way for further discussion.