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Bernie Ecclestone - F1 drivers 'shouldn't even be allowed to talk'

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone says drivers "shouldn't even be allowed to talk" and are only interesting in making money from Formula One.

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) recently called for an overhaul of F1's "obsolete and ill-structured" governance, which it felt had been shown up by the ongoing uncertainty and lack of decision over qualifying. F1 boss Ecclestone wrote back to the drivers asking for them to put forward some suggestions of how to fix the sport in its current guise.

However, speaking in Bahrain, Ecclestone said drivers are self-interested and only care about the sport because it rewards them so well financially.

"What sort of interest do they have, the drivers, other than taking money out of the sport?" Ecclestone said. "I've never seen one of them put one dollar in, you go to dinner with them and they don't even pay the bill. They shouldn't even be allowed to talk. They should get in the car and drive it."

One of the concerns the GPDA letter raised was the move away from free-to-air TV, highlighted by the recent announcement that Sky will be the exclusive broadcaster in the UK from 2019.

Asked why F1 did not want to extend Channel 4's current deal, which allows it to show a certain amount of races live on free TV alongside Sky's coverage, he said: "But more people watch Sky ... The world is changing unfortunately in lots of wrong ways."

Ecclestone understands why people would not want to pay to watch TV when he has previously said he personally would not buy a ticket to watch F1 in its current guise.

"Sky say that they are going to start broadcasting to 25 million people who will be able to watch it, if they want to. The problem is today is do they want to? Because I got slaughtered for saying that I wouldn't buy a ticket for a Formula One race, which is true I wouldn't.

"Because I know full well before I go to the race who's going to be first, who's going to be second and there's no racing that's going to happen anyway. So why would I want to sit in the bloody grandstand for with my wife and two kids or somebody else's wife, for what? To see what?"