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GPDA directors back-pedal on boycott threat

GPDA director and German Sebastian Vettel back-pedalled on Friday, after the drivers’ union earlier threatened to boycott his home race this weekend.

Sebastian-Vettel-2Pirelli and the FIA’s reaction since the Silverstone chaos, allied with the vastly different characteristics of the Nurburgring, meant that Friday was a smooth day of practice, hosting no noteworthy tyre problems.

Pedro de la Rosa, the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association president, began the day in Germany insisting the word ‘boycott’ should not be used.

The GPDA’s Thursday statement warned that drivers “shall immediately withdraw from the event” if more tyres fail this weekend.

But de la Rosa said: “Boycotting is not the word at all, it is about being safe.”

Red Bull’s Vettel – another GPDA director – was also back-pedalling at the Nurburgring.

In his 100-word quote in the team’s post-practice summary statement, 74 of them were dedicated to clarifying the ‘boycott’ threat.

“The circumstances that we raced under in Silverstone were not what we can accept, but I don’t think we will see those issues again,” Red Bull quoted him as saying.

Speaking to British broadcaster Sky, Vettel even pointed a finger at the media for calling the GPDA’s position a ‘threat’.

“It wasn’t a threat, you must have got it wrong,” he said.

“We didn’t say ‘we won’t race’.  Yes, we came together but the point was not to threaten.”