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GPDA chairman vote set for Bahrain

Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) members will be asked to vote at the Bahrain Grand Prix on whether they want a new chairman, with Pedro de la Rosa having decided that he wants to step down from the role.

De la Rosa believes his graduation to a race seat with BMW Sauber will leave him unable to devote the time he feels is necessary for the GPDA on a grand prix weekend.

Having discussed the matter with fellow GPDA directors Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, de la Rosa said on Thursday that the final decision on if he is to be replaced will now be made at the regular drivers' meeting on the Friday night of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

"We have taken the decision that we will go to Bahrain, and then we will have the meeting on Friday," he said when asked by AUTOSPORT about the GPDA situation. "We will then ask all the GPDA members what they want to do. I personally would like another guy to step in in my position.

"I've done it for two years, so it is healthy. There are guys there who will have more time, and we need dedicated guys. I've been very happy with what I've done, I think I've done a good job, and now it is time for guys with more time to take over. However, I will leave it to them. I think that they will agree with me - but let's see what they say."

De la Rosa believes it would be better for at one least one test or reserve driver to take a role on the main board – with Nick Heidfeld now a leading contender to assume that position.

"I think that it is necessary to have a test driver as a director or chairman, because that driver will take a lot of the load work during grands prix – which he can and that is what I was doing," he said. "I helped unload Fernando and Mark over race weekends."

Asked about how good a candidate he believed Heidfeld would be, de la Rosa said: "Yes he would be a very good candidate for sure.

"He is intelligent and experienced, so why not? But it is up to the members. I am very open. If they say, 'Pedro, we want you to continue' then I don't know. I hope not! But I think Heidfeld would be a very good candidate."

Webber believes that sorting out the situation would not be a problem – and he believes the GPDA has gained in strength in recent times.

"It should be pretty straightforward to be honest," he explained. "The GPDA is very strong at the moment, and we will always have good solid directors and a chairman. We did a good job with a few things where if we stood back we would have got nailed, so I think we did quite well as a group."

Webber was also upbeat about the progress that could be made with new FIA president Jean Todt.

"It can only go the right way in terms of where we were," he said. "We want to deal with Jean, not other people, and that's the impression we're getting. The first few meetings we've had with him – at Singapore last year – have been very positive.

"Jean had his finger on the pulse with a lot of things as you'd expect, and the GPDA are looking forward to working with him. If we don't have much to do that's a good sign."

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