Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has blasted F1 chiefs for simply "ticking the box" when it comes to consulting drivers about changes to the sport - and has called upon the sport's governors to be more active in seeking driver feedback.
Via racefans.net, Ferrari's Vettel vented his frustration at not having a voice in the decision-making process, most notably in respect of the plan to reduce downforce levels for the 2019 season.
"In a way it’s good that we’re not making the rules because it’s not our job, we might not have enough of an idea.
"But, on the other hand, we’re driving the cars, if you want to talk about what the cars need I think it would be an interesting source to just ask us," suggested the 30-year-old.
"We haven’t really been asked. If we have then it was more to tick that box. ‘Asked’ and ‘listened’ I think is two different things.”
From the start of next season, each driver will need to meet a minimum weight - expected to be set at 80kg. In the event that a driver does not meet the minimum weight, a team will need to use ballast to bring them up to the minimum weight.
The changes are designed to level the playing field for heavier drivers, as well as to aid overtaking.
Vettel, however, is unimpressed - and believes the majority of drivers would have opposed the move if surveyed.
"I think it’s normal that everyone’s looking for their own interest. But those decisions… I think no driver appreciates the fact that the cars are getting slower...Slowed down by one-and-a-half seconds, does that really help? I think there are some changes you can do to the aero without making the cars slower, that would probably help overtaking.”
FIA president Jean Todt, however, has insisted that drivers are invited to give their opinions, but suggested that time constraints may be one reason why they often do not get to air their views.
"I do respect them and I know how busy they can be, but they have access and very often there is a meeting and they don’t come to a meeting," insisted Todt, who also cited the appointment of former Ferrari and Williams driver Felipe Massa as president of the Karting Commission as evidence that driver input is very much valued.
At a time where relations between administrators and participants are very much strained, one could argue that the FIA should be doing all it can to encourage drivers to feel included and respected as part of any procedural changes.
Both sets of parties ultimately want the sport to flourish, but the divide between them is clear to see in the media at present.
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