F1 drivers attack Mosley's stance on safety

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The drivers' letter was aimed at Mosley, who was heavily criticised after the United States Grand Prix fiasco, rather than at the FIA. It was signed by Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, Takuma Sato, Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella, Mark Webber, Nick Heidfeld, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kimi Raikkonen, Jacques Villeneuve, Felipe Massa, Jarno Trulli, Ralf Schumacher, Tiago Monteiro, Narain Karthikeyan, Patrick Friesacher, Christian Albers, Pedro de la Rosa, Robert Doornbos, Anthony Davidson, Ricardo Zonta and Alexander Wurz.

Red Bull's drivers - David Coulthard, Tonio Liuzzi and Christian Klien - were allegedly told not to sign, while Michael Schumacher showed solidarity with the Ferrari team chief and Mosley supporter, Jean Todt, by also refraining. According to the letter, during a phone conversation on 28 June with Coulthard, a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, Mosley had "suggested that the FIA might withdraw support for the ongoing safety initiatives of the GPDA" after learning that 19 drivers had submitted a statement to the WMSC. The FIA had previously dissuaded driver representation at the WMSC meeting.

"The GPDA believe that safety issues are of the highest importance," it continued, "and are disappointed not to receive the full support of the FIA president." Mosley was due to meet the drivers later this week but cancelled before receiving the letter after hearing of Coulthard's criticism of proposed new regulations.

Coulthard confirmed yesterday that he has signed a one-year contract extension with Red Bull to drive their Ferrari-engined RB2 in 2006.

The fact that Barrichello signed the letter suggests he may switch from Ferrari to take the role at BAR-Honda that Coulthard had been expected to assume whenButton returns to Williams next season.