Bernie Ecclestone says it is not worth the drivers grouping together to voice their concerns of the way Formula 1 is run as they 'have no strength' and 'no voice'.
Speaking publically for the first time about the Grand Prix Drivers' Association letter that criticised the decision-making processes in F1 and aired concerns about the direction the sport is heading in, though Ecclestone initially signalled sympathy in the immediate aftermath, he took the opportunity at the Bahrain Grand Prix to stand his ground and dismiss their influence.
Say there is no use in the drivers putting on a 'show of strength' because they don't have any, when Ecclestone was asked whether he considered some of them 'windbags', he agreed that some of them were.
"They can say what they like can't they? They can't do anything," Ecclestone told Reuters
. "They can give an opinion. Everyone has got an opinion. Really their discussions are with their team and the team has got a voice. They are only saying what the teams have told them to say."
The letter from the GPDA – presided over by ex-F1 driver Alex Wurz – has been viewed as the drivers' first tentative steps into increasing their influence in the way certain changes to the sport at discussed and implemented, such as qualifying, and have also called for an overhaul of the way the decisions are made.
Though drivers sought to play down the extremity of this by suggesting their aim is to 'help' rather than go on the offensive and demand reform, Ecclestone's strong rebuttal is unlikely to smooth the increasing friction between the F1 powers, the teams and the drivers.