F1 returnee and erstwhile Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) chairman Nick Heidfeld has reiterated calls for the safety-focussed organisation to be given more power within the sport to bring about changes in the regulations, contending that the FIA and commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone currently yield too great an influence.
The German was at the head of the GPDA until his comeback to active competition with Sauber late last year, and in October his replacement – Williams veteran Rubens Barrichello – claimed that the drivers' body should be permitted 'to contribute more to the future of the sport' [see separate story – click here
], a viewpoint that has been echoed by fellow grand prix-winner Jarno Trulli.
Heidfeld concurs that such an argument is of ever-greater relevance now in the light of all the recent debate surrounding the extreme degradation of the new Pirelli tyres and the increasing proliferation of buttons on the steering wheel for F1 drivers to have to manage.
“Unfortunately, we don't always have the most powerful lobby,” the 33-year-old – standing in for his injured former team-mate Robert Kubica at Lotus Renault GP this season – told German newspaper Die Welt
. “If the FIA and Bernie have some ideas to improve the show, they can usually push them through.”