Todt: FIA’s role in F1 won’t be diminished

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: FIA president Jean Todt says he will resist any attempts to reduce the FIA’s control over F1.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

F1 rulemaker aims for bigger role (FT, registration required)

“For me, the FIA must have a bigger impact, not erosion. I’m not a dictator trying to control. The contribution and the role of the FIA has to be protected, to be respected.”

Coalition slams brakes on GP night race option (The Age)

Tourism minister Louise Asher: “Mr Ecclestone knows we think it’s too much now. So if he’s wanting to have a race in Melbourne – and I hope he does – we would like to renew the contract, but it would have to be on vastly different terms.”

McLaren reveal test line-up (Sky)

“Regular McLaren test drivers Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey will be joined by Kevin Magnussen for the three-day young driver test following the Abu Dhabi GP.”

Pay drivers take a back seat in F1’s race for financial supremacy (The Guardian)

Toto Wolff: “If you want to do a proper go-kart season you spend about ?����?�100,000 to ?����?�200,000; Formula Renault is something like ?����?�300,000 to ?����?�400,000; GP3, ?����?�600,000; then there is GP2 which is nearer to ?����?�2m than ?����?�1.5m. So the drivers that are knocking on the door of F1 have been used to raising money to find partners for sponsorship.”

The pay driver concept is here to stay (DNA)

“[The] ‘pay driver’ model is here to stay and will become a lot more prominent in F1 in the years to come and also definitely in times of an economic downturn.”

Williams certain it will recapture form (Autosport)

Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan: “At the last couple of races, Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari have been doing very well, but I am still pretty hopeful that, at the end of the season, from our perspective, we can get back into the mix.”

Motorsport in India lacks drive (India Today)

“Now that Narain [Karthikeyan] is the only Indian driver around with a weak team and in a slow car, you have to be happy with whatever you have. But my bigger fear is that the day Narain, too, falls out of the F1 circus, we will have no Indian representation in a sport which brings us immense thrill.

Lewis Hamilton is the loser in Jenson Button battle (Daily Express)

Anthony Davidson: “I was not one of those who felt Jenson would be blown away by Lewis… You cannot underestimate how hard it is to join someone else’s team and establish yourself. But Jenson has done that.”


Comment of the day

LJ isn’t convinced that Jean Todt needs to copy Max Mosley’s presidential style:

He may be right about being tough with the teams and making sure they don’t bully and get their own way, but his way is the way of dictators and it just ends up causing the wrong kind of media.

What I like about Todt is that he gets on with his business behind closed doors, he doesn’t have to milk the spotlight to show his power.

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On this day in F1

Jean-Pierre Beltoise won the non-championship World Championship Victory Race at Brands Hatch 40 years ago today.

Emerson Fittipaldi headed a 32-car grid composed of 17 F1 cars and 15 F5000s. But he retired with a loss of oil pressure.

Beltoise completed the 40-lap race in just under an hour, his BRM followed home by the two Surtees cars of Carlos Pace and Andrea de Adamich.

Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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36 comments on “Todt: FIA’s role in F1 won’t be diminished”

  1. That article in the express is truly painful to read.

    1. That is a truly awful article.

    2. Well, that was more or less what was supposed to have been going on maybe from early last season: Lewis gradually losing ground in the team while Jenson is expanding.
      Some tinfoil hat saying of conspiracy sabotaging etc may not in play but there definitely some playing when you lose ground in a team, which might be a product of either Lewis’ own making or Jenson’s political ability, or both.
      I still don’t think Jenson’s racecraft and racing capability is even close to match to Lewis. But it’s also true that among the top 10 drivers that difference is so thin as to be totally nullified by a small dosage of different approach angle, or teamwork- team support, or call it allocation of resources stemming from political or socializing asymmetry with your surroundings.
      I’m not trying to vilify Jenson here nor covering Lewis up for whatever he did, ’cause I’m nobody’s fan except that I only want to see truly exciting racings against one another in the grid, esp amongst the most talented and fastest young guns . From this aspect, I tend to feel more for Lewis for his so far stagnant, sometimes frustrating races in McLaren which would be big reasons of his sometimes self inflicting things, rather than taking steps for fully materializing himself and sharpening his edge. As some of them are self made, so will his future be made by what and how he does.
      As for the string in front of Jenson’s name, ‘who actually matched Lewis’ or ‘ true No. 1 in prestigious McLaren’ whatever, he will reveal himself with a few more seasons forward.

      1. Jensons is the one with the racecraft & race capabilty!

        Lewis is the fast qualifier, and twitter maniac!

    3. If we are talking about LH vs JB article. I am not sure I agree with all of the views there.

      Of course, Hamilton has lots of “learning” and growing up to do, and I believe he will achieve that within the next 3 years. Either this, or he will end up following Montoya’s footsteps.

      Hamilton acted childishly? Yeah, fine. That is nothing new, and it is not the first time.

      But JB matching or beating Hamilton? No.
      Next year remains to be seen. I think Perez could easily edge JB. And I am very interested to see how Hamilton performs against Rosberg.

    4. I think the article states the obvious.

      Everyone (JB fans and LH fans) agrees that in terms of ‘pure driving ability’, LH is much better than JB. But has that translated into points? No.
      And who is responsible for LH not maximizing his potential? Lewis mainly. And to some extent Mclaren. Because Lewis doesn’t concern himself with the in-team politics or bonding with the team-mates, he leaves himself vulnerable to being out-smarted by a smart driver (Button). Drivers who do play politics and are smart off-track end up being the darlings of their teams – Alonso, Vettel, Button, Schumi. It is these drivers that have seen the team fully back them and have experienced the least number of team mistakes.

      F1 is not about ‘pure driving ability’ alone. Lewis needs to understand that. I agree with the person who commented above me. Lewis will either learn to play politics now at Mercedes, or he will leave F1 to NASCAR.

      1. Drivers who do play politics and are smart off-track end up being the darlings of their teams – Alonso, Vettel, Button, Schumi.

        OK I’ll pose this as a an open question, do people respect that type of driver as much as someone who generally keeps out of it? Granted all drivers have to the play the game to some degree but there are those who seem to rely on it a lot more heavily.

      2. If that was the case then why isn’t Button further ahead. Also you can’t compare Ferrari to the other three, maybe RBR but not full on. Ferrari makes it very clear that there is a clear number one and two from the start of a season.

        Hamilton isn’t further up due to mostly team mistakes the idea that it is mainly his fault…where are you getting that from? Maybe showing us would help your cause. Because I recall under fueling during quali that cost him, transmission replacement that cost him, a couple horrid pit stops, a missed chance at replacing a transmission that cost them a chance at any points, and finally a few suspension failures. Sad part is that is just one driver, because they equally failed the politically “involved” Button as well. So I ask once again can we get facts?

        Finally, Merc GP supports Shumi more than Nico? This is news to me, seeing as one has done frequently better each year than the other. With this year probably being Nico’s best due to winning. I see equal support for the two, not sure how Shumi comes out on top. So the only real politics are see are RBR. I say this because Ferrari is a dictatorship to race for unless you are the no. 1 driver, Merc GP is equal to each, McLaren is also equal due to simply failing both drivers various times (not just this year) and letting them race.

    5. When I said the article is awful, it’s not due to the content, but the way the content was written. Like by a teenager.

  2. Pay drivers are here to stay. The concept of the pay driver has changed a lot. Back in the day, there were drivers with not enough talent, and loads of money or sponsors, or even manufacturer backing, as in Nakajima’s case with Mugen Honda.

    But now, you have Maldonado or Perez… both of which are seriously fast and have loads and loads of money in sponsorship. Really, as a team, would you turn them down?

    1. You get the feeling that the teams can’t win whatever they do.

      Red Bull have the opposite of pay drivers. They invest millions of euros in developing young drivers from the lower formulae, many of whom would never get equivalent opportunities otherwise. Even better, they operate a formula one team dedicated to (hopefully) producing top level drivers good enough for their first team.

      And yet at a time when the sport can’t even fill all 26 grid spots, you consistently see comments criticising the RB Young Driver Scheme and saying that Toro Rosso shouldn’t exist.

      There is just no pleasing everybody.

      1. For those who don’t hate all things Red Bull, I highly recommend the webisode series Destination One, which covers the 2011 seasons of Ricciardo, Vergne, Sainz Jnr and Kvyatt.

        1. @tdog Great tip, thanks for that.

    2. @fer-no65 I think the issue is that the definition of pay driver has to be revisited. I don’t think any driver with sponsorship should immediately be considered a pay driver, but rather, I think that pay drivers should be referring to the drivers who are chosen for money rather than talent (ie if they wouldn’t have been chosen if they didn’t have any sponsors, then they are pay drivers) – for some drivers IMO the sponsorship is just a bonus, such as with Alonso.

      1. @raymondu999 yeah, but people still claim Maldonado’s a pay driver…

        1. @fer-no65 To be honest I still think he is. I don’t think he would be taken on talent alone without sponsorship – because otherwise the cost of repairs goes missing. The PDVSA sponsorship is probably partially allocated to spare parts in case Maldonado decides to use his car as a weapon again.

  3. I’m not a dictator trying to control.

    That was Mosley. Nobody takes that sore loser seriously anymore.

    Todt is smart enough to know, how “NOT” to run FIA. And he is doing a good job.

    1. @maksutov – To be fair to Mosley, sometimes his standover tactics did work. When he was interviewed, he gave the example of abolishing qualifying engines of one case where it worked. The teams were dragging their feet, but Mosley was intelligent enough to realise that it was needlessly expensive, and therefore unsustainable. I think that it was one of the changes he made that were for the better. However, Mosley’s problem was that he resorted to standover tactics far too quickly, and later during his tenure as President, he resorted to them far too often. And that’s what drove the teams to rebel in the first place.

      I think Max Mosley deserves more credit than most people give him. Perhaps not much more, but certainly a little more. He is very intelligent, and a skilled politician. Unlike Balestre, I always felt that Mosley was at least trying to move the sport in the right direction for the sport, rather than the right direction for himself. I don’t think Mosley would have blatantly manipulated the rulebook to favour a British driver the way Balestre did to favour a French driver when he had the pole position swapped over at Suzuka in order to hinder Ayrton Senna’s chances.

      In the end, Mosley was the architect of his own destruction. I believe he came to the conclusion that there were no bad ideas, which meant that everything he said and did was for the better. If he hadn’t amended the rules to give himself the ability to stay in power perpetually, I think history would have been much kinder to him.

      1. There was also a lot of other stuff which Mosley needed to take a more hands on role because the teams were dragging there feet.

        I think part of the reason Max was so disliked by many fans is that a lot of what he put forward was quite radical & maybe even against what F1 was about to many. However its important to remember that 80% of what he proposed were not serious proposals & never got put into the regulations.

        A lot of the radical stuff he proposed was simply a tactic to get the teams to actually do something rather than just arguing amongst themselves & getting nothing done.
        For example the reduction in downforce & pushed to improve the racing to be brought in for 2009.

        Max had asked the teams to look at ways of doing this & they spent 2 years doing nothing, Max then proposed that CGD split-rear wing & pushed some other somewhat radical rule changes.
        Neither teams or fans liked the proposals but they were never serious, They were just a way of letting the teams know that if they didn’t take things seriously & act then he was willing to push something through anyway. It worked as the teams then got together, Put together the OWG & came up with the 2009-present aero package & proposed the return of slick tyres (Which Max accepted).

        I can think of numerous example such as that, Teams dragging there feet & Max saying/doing something solely to get the teams to take things seriously & then eventually adopting the teams proposals & shelving his own.

        Id also point out that in his 1st year as FIA president he had 2 driver fatalities as well as other big accidents & injuries. Its also easy to forget that F1 was been hammered by the media in that time, I recall a French headline ‘F1 bloodsport’ after Wendlinger’s Monaco crash.
        There was a ton of pressure on Max & the FIA through mid-1994 & much of the initial safety changes & the safety campaign that he ran through the remainder of his tenure as FIA president stemmed from that.

    2. I think along the same lines. There’s some issues where I think he should have done differently (Bahrain is a big one, although it was hard to see how), but overall its good that we at least see the FIA as trying to make for impartial application of the rules, and constructive discussion rather than a battle over the media and all other means like with a frightened to say anything paddock, like we had with Mosley.

  4. Having been to grand prix in Melbourne 3 times now, I have to say that a night race would be a bit impractical. Even putting aside the high cost lights for the track, they would have to light pretty much have to light the whole of Albert Park so that fans wouldn’t have to navigate around the track in darkness. After all it’s not like Singapore where the circuit is located in the centre of the city and light from surrounding buildings and streets can illuminate the area hosting the grand prix. The Albert Park circuit is pretty isolated and the whole park would have to be lit up like a night golf course for it to work. Not sure how taxpayers would react if they heard the reasoning for a night race on top the complaints of what we already have.
    Even if money wasn’t a problem, I dont think that a night event would even be a better spectacle for ticket holders or TV audiences than what we currently have. I quite enjoy the 5pm start with the sun setting towards the end of the race anyway, and it also showcases Melbourne’s scenery as well.

    1. agreed. Its a bit disappointing though knowing that it costs a lot to run the race, but i can’t really think of a better opening to the season. I wouldn’t mind Phillip Island, though there is an obvious reason why it wouldn’t work

  5. Thanks LJ for the COTD comment, I feel very much the same on this issue. Mosley being autocratic did the sport far more harm than good.

  6. It’s fair to say that Hamilton’s the more natural talented driver – he’ll always get the fastest time out of the car given to him – but I think Button beats him in terms of developing the car from a baseline to a race winner over the weekend.

    It’s long been said (since Heikki was Lewis’ partner), that Lewis relies on his teammates set up more than most.

    1. I don’t think Hamilton would have gotten where he is today if he relied solely on his team-mates’ set-ups.

      Rather, I think it’s more a case of him relying on his team mates to fill in the blanks for him. If there’s something that he can’t get right himself, then he’ll just do what the other side of the garage is doing, even if it doesn’t compliment the rest of his set-up as well as it could.

    2. Didn’t Button also look at Hamiltons setup to get back on track in some of the races this year? And didn’t Prost already complain that Senna made him do the hard work in testing?

      I think its perfectly normal, and in many cases the best way forward for a driver to look at what their teammates are doing. Arguably one of the factors that made life harder for Hamilton in the second half of 2007 was that he could not have a look at Alonso. And its well possible that it hurt Alonso to not be able to have a look at what Hamilton was doing with setup.
      And at times this year Hamilton lost out from choosing a different way forward from Button. On the other hand I read people commenting that Button greatly profited from having Rubens’ setup available in 2009 too.
      In my opinion looking at each others setups and using the best for both cars is what makes teams work as a team in F1 to the best result for all.

      1. People forget what a nightmare Jenson has had with setup in the middle of this season, but its more convinient to highlight Hamilton’s problems because he is perceived as the less intelligent of the two. This is exactly the same as when people say that Hamilton destroys his tyres when in fact on closer inspection it becomes clear that he does not at all since adapting his driving style (to be less pointy) last year.

    3. Funny, seeing as (if I remember correctly) people always used to say Button would be lost set-up-wise in 09 without Barrichello to steal from.

  7. The reliance of money in motorsport will always be a problem, it’s nothing new. It’s is the number one reason I see sim-racing being the (distant) future of true competition. You can see in iRacing some of the best racing in the world, and there is very, very little financial barrier to entry.

    1. @skipgamer Don’t see that myself. It’s relatively easy to set crazy-fast lap times when you have no fear of killing or harming yourself in front of a computer screen.

      1. @andrewtanner fair point, but one could say in motorsports, we will eventually reach the point where this is also true.

  8. “There are no drivers who are clearly underperforming”, says Toto Wolff – while Autosport says Williams is adamant it can recover frontrunning form by solving problems with the car. I think the truth lies somewhere between the two…

    Wolff didn’t mention the career path he’s guiding Bottas along: saving $2m by missing out GP2 – nice if you can get it.

    But he does highlight the wide choice of drivers available to an F1 team: do you take the talented racer from Renault 3.5, or the rich, desperate kid (and his dad’s money) from the mixed-ability group in GP2? With no chance to see them race against each other (apart from Nasr and da Costa at the Macau F3). Maybe they should run a GP2-level race there to finish the season.

    1. To be fair to Gillan, who I think is the one quoted in Autosport re: Williams, their recent races have mostly been plagued with car issues. In Korea they had no pace to speak of all weekend, and in Singapore, despite both drivers being on track for a points finish, they ended up having to retire both cars. Maldonado was quoted recently as well saying he suspects they’ve been left behind in the development game at this point, and all signs are certainly pointing that way right now…

  9. Apparently Jaypee Sports International are only expecting 55-60,000 this year as opposed to last year. (link) One of the more amusing reasons given is that Delhiites are followers of style and brand concsious and last year the inaugural event at the BIC was perceived ‘the place to be’.

    On the matter of the FIA, it appears it is becoming merely a tool of ratification rather than one that proposes and enforces and may be attributed to the different styles of Mosely and Todt.

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