Last week's news that F1 drivers are preparing for a row with motor racing's international governing body over the cost of their mandatory FIA super licences reminds me that there is nothing new under the sun.

The new deal would mean world champion Lewis Hamilton having to pay 218,920 euros for his licence fee this year. Seems like a lot of cash, but probably not so much if you're earning 12 million euros a year.

The news took me back to the 1982 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, where my old mate Niki Lauda, bouncing back into the F1 business with McLaren after a two-year sabbatical, helped to orchestrate a drivers' strike that disrupted practice.

Niki, who celebrates his 60th birthday next month, was absolutely unapologetic about his involvement which, in fairness, was not about money, but about the FIA's demand that a super licence only be issued in conjunction with a driver's specific contract with a team. In other words, no contract, no super licence.

This week’s row follows on from a scrap last year when the cost of the licence shot up from €1725 plus €456 per point scored from the previous year, to €10,000 plus €2000 per point for the 2008 season.

Now the drivers are being asked to accept an inflationary rise, increasing the basic fee to €10,400.

"We spend a fortune on safety and most of it is for the benefit of the drivers," Max Mosley, the FIA president, explained. "A lot of the people who have otherwise been meeting the bill said 'Hang on a minute, these drivers are all earning megabucks and we are spending a fortune to try and make sure they are safe.' So hence the increase."