Drivers reluctant to air safety views – DC

Thu, 17 January 2008, 10:36

Many fellow formula one drivers have not publicly expressed their concerns about the ban on electronic aids, according to outspoken critic and grand prix veteran David Coulthard.

The Red Bull driver, who at 36 is the oldest active driver on the grid, told reporters at the Jerez test on Wednesday that some of his rivals are simply not prepared to be labelled “soft” by declaring that the absence of traction control will make their jobs more dangerous.

Coulthard said many drivers are not shy to air their concerns in drivers’ and GPDA meetings.

“There is an element of not wanting to get involved publicly, an element of not wanting to talk about safety because racing drivers are meant to be brave and pushing the limits and all that sort of thing,” he explained.

Coulthard seemed to resent the depiction of him as ‘afraid’ of F1’s new era without sophisticated driver aids.

Referring to some of his younger rivals, he said: “I’ve raced when a lot of these guys were at kindergarten, and I was racing cars without those toys.”

Coulthard’s teammate Mark Webber also laid his cards on the table at Jerez on Wednesday, ridiculing the suggestion that F1 drivers’ high salaries justify the risks.

“But I don’t want to see ‘Webber is a pussy with safety’ (in the media),” the Australian admitted.

“I like taking risks, and I’m up for the challenge, but we need to always find a balance,” he said.

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