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Nico denies strike threat

Shanghai: Nico Hulkenberg on Thursday denied reports that F1 drivers were threatening to go on strike over unpaid salaries, but he called for quick action to resolve the problem.

Hulkenberg said it was “not good for the sport” that drivers were kept waiting for their wages and said discussions were underway to find a solution.

Germany’s Sport Bild magazine claimed this week that several drivers for smaller teams, including Hulkenberg, who drove for Sauber last year, were still owed unpaid wages dating back to 2013.

It reported that the drivers’ union, the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, had signed a document vowing to strike if the situation continued. Hulkenberg, third in the drivers’ standings with Force India after three races, was asked about a possible strike at the Chinese Grand Prix on Thursday and said firmly: “No that is not true.”

He admitted, however, that unpaid wages were an issue for all the drivers. “We are discussing that issue at the moment regarding unpaid drivers and it is something that is not good for the sport — the pinnacle of motor racing,” said Hulkenberg.

“We have never discussed going on a strike but we want the issue to be addressed. And we want it to be improved.”

Hulkenberg admitted that with some teams struggling for cash, especially with the raft of technical changes brought in this season, it was difficult to know what action the drivers could take. “I don’t know,” he said. “We all need to stick our heads together and see if we can come up with a solution.”

Last year, former world champion Kimi Raikkonen complained that he was owed money by then employer Lotus, citing it as the reason for quitting to rejoin Italian team Ferrari.

Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg said he will discuss with Lewis Hamilton before this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix an incident during their thrilling battle in Bahrain, when he felt his Mercedes teammate went "over the line".

The German, who won the season-opener in Australia, started from pole at the Sakhir circuit 11 days ago but lost his lead off the line, with Hamilton moving from second to head the field into the first corner.

The 28-year-old Rosberg was unable to find a way past his team mate in a wheel-to-wheel duel, with only one second separating the Mercedes pair at the finish.