17 April 2014
Chinese GP: Hulkenberg rubbishes F1 driver strike talk
Nico Hulkenberg says the drivers in F1 are working to come up with a solution to unpaid wages, however, he insists the GPDA members have 'never discussed doing a strike'.
Force India's Nico Hulkenberg has dismissed speculation that the drivers in F1 might go on strike over unpaid wages.
Hulkenberg was one of a number of drivers that had problems last season, the others most notably being Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, and ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend, there have been reports that the GPDA – Grand Prix Drivers' Association – members had all signed a document saying they will strike if any members are not paid. Asked if that is true, Hulkenberg told reporters, including Crash.net, that was definitely not the case.
“No, that is not true,” he confirmed. “Yes, the GPDA... it is a theme at the moment. We are talking and discussing that issue.”
“Regarding the unpaid drivers, it is something that is not good for the sport and the pinnacle of motor racing. But we have never discussed doing a strike. We do want the issue to be addressed though, and we want it to be improved,” he added.
So what can the drivers' do? “I don't know. But that is what we are working on. We all need to stick our heads together to see what we can do and come up with a solution,” the German continued.
Hulkenberg also added that at the moment it is not a problem he is experiencing: “My current team is pretty good with that. But I still have and had some issues with that as well,” he noted.
Meanwhile, looking to this weekend's race and the season as a whole, Hulkenberg conceded he is surprised to be third in the Drivers' Championship.
“No, I didn't expect that - and no you couldn't as well. Winter testing was good, but not that good. Then to come away with that many points after three races was a big achievement [for us all]. I am pretty happy with that,” he remarked.
“Of course I would have liked to have been the one on the podium [in Bahrain, instead of my team-mate, Sergio Perez]. But that is racing and that is life. I wasn't up there for reasons,” he explained. “I did a mistake in qualifying and therefore wasn't in the best position on Sunday. I paid the price in the end.
"I am not too disappointed, however. It is behind me now. I still had a very good and encouraging race for me from eleventh. The important thing is we have the performance in the car and that we are strong at the moment. I am sure there will be another opportunity for me as well to stick it up there.”
Could this be his best season yet then? “Maybe. It is always difficult to tell what is going to happen in the next few months. I know we have a very strong package. We have brought some new developments and updates here. I don't see any obvious reason why we shouldn't be able to carry the good momentum,” he stated.
“But like every year in F1, it is pretty much a development race now. You have got to keep bringing performance and maybe at the later point of the season the big teams with more budget will have more of an advantage. But I still see ourselves in a very good position.”
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