GPDA gets 100% driver membership for the first time in its history
Due to concerns over the future of Formula 1, drivers have unanimously signed up to the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, marking 100% membership of the organisation for what may be "the first time in history" according to the GPDA's chairman, Alexander Wurz.
"F1 is entering a period of evolution, change and perhaps even a degree of turmoil," said Wurz, explaining why the GPDA now has 100% membership. "They recognise they must be united and represented to face that challenge."
The former Benetton, McLaren and Williams driver stated that more drivers have joined the union to "prevent any politics or power fights from ultimately compromising on-track performance. The drivers believe unity is fundamental for the sport's success."
This comes at a time of increasing tension in Formula 1, with there being growing concerns about the plans of Liberty Media and the sport entering a period of negotiations, with contracts that bind teams to the sport coming to an end soon, the majority of which come to a close in 2020.
Wurz said that drivers had been happy with the changes in Formula 1 prior to Liberty Media's takeover, particularly regarding technical changes which have seen cars become faster for 2017.
"We are all particularly proud that the new cars, with their faster cornering speeds, had such great effect," he said. "The drivers love them and we have seen an instant increase in viewership and followers.
"The GPDA pushed for this rule direction for the last three years. Happy drivers are F1's best sales tool," he added.
Despite this, a number of concerns about the future of the series remain, with worries including over-regulation and series' penalty system, lack of noise from engines, differences in budgets between teams which result in performance gaps up and down the grid, and a lack of action out on track.
"We are glad that Liberty and their technical research team followed the GPDA's suggestion from more than a year ago, where we wished for a less sensitive airflow concept of aerodynamic-related rules in order to be able to race closer. That's just one example and one of many the drivers have in mind," said Wurz.
"We don't need a seat at the table, because the drivers are in the driving seat anyhow. Besides, I would be surprised if any of the key stakeholders would invite the drivers to the F1 decision-making table.
"The GPDA demands only that the sport remains the centre of attention and we want to hold everyone in the decision-making process accountable for their actions and decisions," he added.
"All adjustments to the sport should only be done and conducted in the best interest of the sport and not of any one individual. This is what unites the drivers; the sheer will to keep F1 as the pinnacle of motor racing."