Herbie Blash should be new race director – Ecclestone

Wed, 13 July 2022, 10:00

Jul.13 (GMM) Mick Schumacher has defended Sebastian Vettel for storming out of the official drivers’ briefing in Austria.

The quadruple world champion had a EUR 25,000 fine suspended by the FIA but Schumacher, 23, said his friend and countryman was not alone in his frustrations.

“I had the impression that we were going in circles on some issues,” the Haas driver is quoted by Sport1.

“It dragged on longer than necessary. I totally understand how Sebastian reacted and I think there were some other drivers who also felt the urge to leave.”

Indeed, there is a growing discontent among the driver camp about the way Formula 1 has handled the post Charlie Whiting era – with axed race director Michael Masi now returning to Australia.

Masi was replaced by two new race directors, including Niels Wittich who appears to be the official most criticised by the drivers.

“I’m not surprised about the discussions taking place now in Formula 1,” said Gerhard Berger, who knows Wittich well from his former duties in DTM.

“Let’s put it this way – I know Niels’ strengths, but also his weaknesses,” said the F1 legend.

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone also sides with the drivers – particularly the most senior ones who trusted the late Whiting implicitly.

“Sebastian, Fernando and Lewis know exactly what is at stake,” said the 91-year-old. “Since Charlie’s death, the officials have made themselves look ridiculous.

“But Charlie also left a void that no one can come even close to filling. He knew the drivers and team bosses inside out and knew exactly how to deal with them.”

Ecclestone thinks a solution would be to promote Herbie Blash, an FIA official for decades who is now in a mainly consulting role, to a Whiting-like position.

“Drivers would accept him just as they would Charlie,” he predicts.

Ultimately, though, Ecclestone said solving the driver revolt is the responsibility of new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

“He has to send clear signals now, because this confrontation with the drivers can’t go well for much longer,” he said.

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