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GP Week : Issue 186
With the German Grand Prix weekend plagued by the threat of a driver strike, GPWEEK’s KATE WALKER takes a look at the histor y of F1 boycotts. The word strike brings to mind picket lines, men and women holding hand-painted cardboard signs with pithy slogans, and people standing around oil drum fires to stay warm in their fingerless gloves. As a child of the 1980s, strikes mean miners, Thatcher, and Arthur scargill. On Thursday evening in the Nurburgring, the F1 press corps was gathered on the top deck of the Mercedes motorhome enjoying the Silver Arrows’ annual German barbecue. One by one, Blackberries and iPhones started buzzing discreetly, and journalists started making their excuses and heading back to the press room. The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association had just finished an extraordinary meeting at which the racers’ union had agreed to pull out of the 2013 German Grand Prix if concerns over tyre safety persisted throughout the weekend. “The important thing is that we are not talking about boycotting, we are not talking about politics – we are talking about safety,” GPDA chairman Pedro de la Rosa (right) said. “There was not one driver who was against what was decided. “Safety is first and if there is any issue with blow-outs in the weekend we have to think about own lives, the marshals and the fans. It is not worth taking any more risks. I think all the drivers have gone through enough risk already, for the past few races and especially the last. Boycotting is not the word at all: it is about being safe.” continued over page “We trust that the changes made to the tyres will have the desired results and that similar problems will not occur during the German GP weekend. We are ready to drive our cars to the limit, as we always do, and as it is expected by our teams, sponsors and fans. However, the drivers have decided that, if similar problems should manifest themselves during the German GP, we shall immediately withdraw from the event, as this avoidable problem with the tyres endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans.” PLUCKy STRIKES >>> F1 FEATUrE