GPDA – What Is the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, Consisting of Vettel and Russell?

Published 03/25/2021, 5:10 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 14, 2021 Williams’ George Russell in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Earlier, news broke that George Russell is replacing Romain Grosjean as the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) director. Of course, considering that Grosjean is no longer in F1, it was understood that he would be replaced eventually.

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However, this does beg the question, What is the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association?

In essence, it is a trade union comprising of Formula One drivers. It is also noteworthy that GPDA members need not be active Formula One drivers. Before Grosjean, Jenson Button served as the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director, succeeding Rubens Barrichello.

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History of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association

Back in 1961, members elected to form the association, with Sir Stirling Moss as the chairman. The organization’s primary aim was to seek representation on the Commission Sportive Internationale (CSI) in the FIA. The GPDA will actively seek to improve safety standards and provisions for drivers and spectators.

KANNAPOLIS, NC – SEPTEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France speaks during a press conference as Haas F1 Team announces Grosjean as their driver for the upcoming 2016 Formula 1 season on September 29, 2015 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Stewart-Haas Racing via Getty Images)

Admittedly, the GPDA dissolved in 1982, due to the changing commercial arrangements. Another factor behind the dissolution was a conflict between the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) and FIA. However, Niki Lauda, Christian Fittipaldi, Michael Schumacher, and Gerhard Berger re-established it in 1994.

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The impetus behind the move was the tragic events of that year’s San Marino Grand Prix. Interestingly, Ayrton Senna had set the foundation for its return after Ratzenberger’s fatal crash and a crash involving Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian spoke to former teammate and rival Alain Prost and offered to take the Chairman role.

In 1996, the company earned some recognition and even has permanent offices in Monaco. Since then, the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has been going strong. It is also interesting to note that legal adviser Anastasia Fowle is the first non F1-affiliated person to be the director. So, she will share duties with Williams F1 driver, George Russell.

For the moment, George Russell and the other drivers will focus on the 2021 Formula One season. So far, Russell and his contemporaries can be proud of the fact that F1’s safety has been taken seriously over the years. The fiery accident of Romain Grosjean, where he managed to escape serious injury, is testament to that.

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DIVE DEEPER

George Russell Set to Replace Romain Grosjean as GPDA Director

about 2 months ago

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Dhruv George

11434 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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