Fri | Aug 18, 2017

F1 drivers make sign of unity

Published:Friday | April 15, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel (right) talks with a member of the Scuderia Toro Rosso racing team ahead of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China, yesterday.

SHANGHAI (AP):

Formula One's drivers have made another statement of unity, this time in the form of a selfie over a group dinner in China.

Nearly all of the drivers on the circuit got together for dinner before the start of the Chinese Grand Prix on Wednesday night and posed for a group selfie that Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg posted on Instagram with a message targeted at F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

Rosberg hash-tagged the photo, #RacingUnited, and then wrote, "or in Bernie's words: #windbagsunited."

The barb was in reference to comments that Ecclestone made to the media in Bahrain after F1 drivers wrote a joint letter demanding an overhaul of F1's administration.

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association wrote the letter to F1 stakeholders amid frustrations over the much-criticised rolling elimination format of qualifying that was introduced this season and then promptly dropped for the Chinese GP, as well as other problems in the sport.

WINDBAGS COMMENT

Ecclestone dismissed the drivers' concerns, and when asked by reporters if he believed they were "windbags," he replied, some of them were.

Rosberg, said yesterday he wasn't upset by Ecclestone's comments, adding the drivers were only "trying to help" with the letter.

"We love the sport, we want the sport to be the most fascinating, exciting sport in the whole wide world," he said. "And if we're together and we raise our opinion, we have a certain power."

Apparently, the only thing the drivers can't agree on is who should have picked up the bill for dinner.

Reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, who chose the restaurant and put down the deposit for the tables, said after the meal he suggested one driver pick up the bill and someone else could pay next time.

"And then someone said, 'Let's just share it, so it's 17 drivers sharing that freaking bill," he said. "We all got a receipt - it was 17 receipts, 17 credit cards. It was the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen."

When asked who insisted on paying individually, Hamilton joked. "I'm pretty sure it was Nico."

Rosberg responded in kind by saying his Mercedes teammate should have treated because the "agreement usually is that the world champion pays."