Todt ‘trying to avoid any possible controversy’

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: FIA president Jean Todt says he is striving for consensus amid the discussions over cost controls in Formula One.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Interview: Todt tries the consensual approach to regulation (FT, registration required)

“Yet Todt does not sound like a man preparing to change tack. ‘Since I have been president, I have tried to avoid as much as possible any kind of controversy or big statements’ which could be misinterpreted, he says.”

Marussia Formula 1 team talks to investors after ??49m loss (The Guardian)

“Marussia, the Formula One team 29.4% owned by Lloyds Banking Group, is in talks with potential investors to keep its wheels turning after making a ??49m loss last year.”

Hamilton targets ‘fun’ finish at McLaren as British driver nears switch to Mercedes (Daily Mail)

“I saw the race trace for India, and Sebastian [Vettel’s] speed in the first stint, and there was no way we could compete with that, even if I’d driven 200 per cent.”

A land of contrast (ESPN)

“[Hamilton] then got hounded by photographers as he walked down the pit lane because we don’t see the drivers very often and when they step into the pit lane that’s our opportunity to get some photos. So we then papped him all the way to the McLaren garage and he disappeared into the back. The next minute he came out with a bloody umbrella and we’re all thing “What the hell is he doing?” It wasn’t sunny or raining but he put this umbrella up and as people tried to take pictures of him he put this umbrella in the way to shield himself.”

Massa Hoping For Ferrari Upgrades (Speed)

“I didn’t have everything compared to Fernando on the car, but I hope we have everything ready for the next race.”

Pirelli ‘needs wider compound choice’ (Autosport)

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery: “As a minimum, we could do with eight compounds, with low and high [temperature] working ranges in each of the four levels [super soft, soft, medium and hard] that we’ve got now.”

In the Mix – Abu Dhabi GP Preview with Eric Boullier (Lotus)

“I think we have some interesting developments coming for Abu Dhabi which should allow us to have more speed and even better performance from the car. Ideally this should put us in a position to have a more successful qualifying and definitely also help us in the race itself.”

The genius of Newey and Red Bull (BBC)

Jaime Alguersuari “I have done the equivalent of 11 grand prix distances in tyre testing this year, trying out hundreds of sets of tyres. It gives you extra confidence to understand the behaviour of the tyres, whether it be temperature ranges, car balance or durability.”

Paul Ricard – a serious bid? (Joe Saward)

“A meeting is planned to discuss a deal this weekend in Abu Dhabi and the French will need to have all their ducks in a row if they want a race in 2013. Time is short and while they might gain a few weeks by agreeing to a race in late August, the gap on the F1 calendar that needs to be filled is in June.”

America’s failure in international motor racing (MotorSport)

“Is there any hope of America regaining its glory days in international racing? I’m sorry to say that based on what I’ve witnessed over forty years of covering motor racing across the United States I seriously doubt it. If the promoters at Austin and Weehawken wish to reverse this unhappy trend they will have to seriously invest in helping American drivers and teams once again achieve success on the international stage.”


Comment of the day

Nico Hulkenberg’s move to Sauber was positively received by most readers. Here’s what Aled Davies (@Aledinho) had to say:

I think it’s a good move for Hulkenberg and I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some sort of contact with Ferrari about it. Would have been good to see Ferrari take a chance on him I mean, surely he cant be even further behind Alonso than Massa is on average.

Hopefully Sauber build a solid car and he can regularly be in the points with potential for a podium or two but like others have said I wouldn’t be surprised if Sauber fell back next year, they are a small team after all.

Of the younger drivers, Hulkenberg is the best I think, better than Di Resta, Ricciardo and Vergne. So I hope it works out for him.
Aled Davies (@Aledinho)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Joe Jones!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Young Mexican F1 driver Ricardo Rodriguez died on this day 50 years ago.

The 20-year-old was practising for his country’s first Grand Prix, a non-championship event at the Magdalena Mixhuca circuit in Mexico City, when he crashed his Lotus at the fast Peraltada corner and suffered fatal injuries.

His elder brother Pedro went on to win two Grands Prix but lost his life in a sports car accident at the Norising in Germany in 1971. Mexico’s F1 track is now named after the Rodriguez brothers.

Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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57 comments on “Todt ‘trying to avoid any possible controversy’”

  1. Consensus, always a good thing to go by. Being the dictator didn’t work out too brilliantly for Mosley, so let’s check out the Democrat’s approach.

    1. It’s great when you have competent people around you working for the same goal, as it was the case in Ferrari. I’m not sure how it will work out, when people you trying to connect are deliberately trying to get one up on each other and are pulling in their own directions.

      1. People like that will ultimately bring down the whole operation. We need people who have a certain altruism about them. Rare, but worth the effort to find them.

        1. I see what you saying. But as Bernie put it in his latest interview with Martin Brundle. Back in the day we done the deal on the back of the envelope, now we have lawyers.

          People like you describe, and we all hunger for, now days are too often victims of burrocracy or branded as power hungry tyrants and thrown into brainless media grind machine :D

          1. Ah, the sad reality.

          2. @kimi4wdc, the teams used the back of an envelope, Bernie used lawyers.

  2. Not wishing to promote stereotypes, but Monsieur Todt’s approach has echoes of the modus operandi of the last French president of the FIA – Jean Marie Balestre – Mosley’s predecessor. According to Tom Bowyers book, ‘No Angel’ about the life of Ecclestone, “Balestre resembled a police chief interested in the power and perks of office” p.143

    Interestingly Wikipedia tells us that “In the late 1970s, photographs began to circulate of Balestre wearing a German SS uniform and he took unsuccessful legal action to suppress their publication . So much for sterotypes eh!

    1. But unlike Balestre, Todt doesn’t have any French world champions to be biased towards :P

    2. In the late 1970s, photographs began to circulate of Balestre wearing a German SS uniform

      Haha, that’s the tradtion.

    3. @thejudge13

      Not wishing to promote stereotypes, but Monsieur Todt’s approach has echoes of the modus operandi of the last French president of the FIA – Jean Marie Balestre – Mosley’s predecessor. According to Tom Bowyers book, ‘No Angel’ about the life of Ecclestone, “Balestre resembled a police chief interested in the power and perks of office” p.143

      And what, exactly, does Balestre’s style of governance have to do with Todt’s?

      Balestre was a tyrant, concerned solely with his own personal power and furthering his own ends. He certainly did not do that through the consenus and rational discourse that Todt is promoting. Not once has Todt shown any open interest in exploiting the perks of his position that you rightfully claim are symptomatic of Balestre’s rule, but have wrongfully applied to Todt’s.

      1. I fully agree with what PM says here – not only has Todt seemed to be completely unbiased throughout his ‘reign’ thus far, but according to most of the opinion polls about him on here he’s seemed to impress a lot of F1 Fanatics as well.

        Particularly, I’ve been impressed with the way he’s shown interests in motorsports outside F1 – something Mosley never seemed to do. I was very pleased to see Todt show up to support a WTCC event earlier in the year.

      2. Prior to the Concorde meeting last week, Todt described himself thus, “I am a legalist, so I will never do things which are not our responsibility but I will never allow things which are under our responsibility to be dealt with by anybody else.”

        His defensive comments were a rebuttal of public criticism he has received.

        At the time I thought of a 1970’s Parisienne Police Chief worrying about the letter of the law and completely missing the big picture. Then this picture extended to the inept police officers of Holmes and Poirot – Lestrade and Japp

        Balestre was played for a fool by Ecclestone and Mosley and Todt’s consensual style hardly exudes visionary leadership – and you could easily see a half insane 82 year old out thinking and manoeuvring him.

        Further Todt enjoys very much the lifestyle he now has, and it is early days yet to see how petty and legalistic he will become – as did Balestre.

        Anyway – I did say, ‘echoes’.

        1. @thejudge13 – Sorry, but I think you have completely misinterpreted Todt’s comments. He is saying that he is not going to overstep his position for the sake of an agenda, and that he won’t delegate or defer making a decision to someone else. It has nothing to do with being overly-concerned with the letter of the law and “missing the bigger picture”. I think you have fundamentally misinterpreted his comments.

          1. If only that were true. But he has form already – ducking the big issues. “uniF1ed” should have received sanction from the FIA. Even Ecclestone said he told the promoters to take down the signs.

            I suppose in a legalistic sense he didn’t delegate or defer this. Just ignored it completely.

            Collaboration works well and probably can only work at all when you have a group of people with similar or the same goals – hardly true of his group of hardy constituents.

            Therefor he may be delusional – as was Balestre.


  3. Sorry to go on but, having read the Hembery article earlier today – someone who by the way I think is great for F1 – the idea of a set of 4 high ambient temperature tyres and another for low temperatures sounds over complicated. What happens if Friday is mega hot, Saturday cool and Sunday…well either or something else?

    Then we have races where the track temperature rises during the race and those where it cools – like Abu Dhabi which is late in the day and is colder at the end than the start.

    All we needed in India was super soft and hard tyres rather than the soft/hard combination. Pirelli seem to make to make more conservative choices for the tyres in the closing races each year – as though they don’t want to be criticised for affecting the title run in.

    1. I think what they want to happen is teams to take on gambles rather than qualified/predictable choices with regards to tyres, therefore reducing teams understanding of the tyres. Just imagine how much more time/test runs they have to do if they need to test additional set of tyres during the weekend. And what if it’s rains on Friday…..

      1. @Kimi4WDC I agree if it means the teams will be given say 4 different tyre types to use. If they all still get given 2 from 8 instead of 2 from 4 nothing much will change.

        This year, its as though Raikkonen spooked the whole F1 paddock with the dramatic cliff he hit in the final few laps in China (or Malaysia) going from 2nd to nowhere in a lap or 2. Since then everyone is tyre management mad.

        I understand the concern that driving the tyres as hard as possible brings – early stop, bad track position – but if the delta time between the 2 tyre choices gave a the softer tyre a quick enough speed advantage to overtake anything else not on the same tyre, this would not be a concern following a pit stop.

        You would have Lewis, Raikkonen and Grosjean driving the knackers of their cars making 3,4 or 5 stops (maybe more in a Mercedes), and Sauber trundling round trying to be Swiss and efficient doing only one stop – so what?

        Of course they need to design the tyre to give a fairly linear degradtion profile aswell and this I suppose is pretty difficult to get right.

        But for a sport that earns $1.5bn a year, surely they could pay Pirelli a little more to do the appropriate R&D. Hembery inferred last week they were budget restricted as Pirelli would love to do more wet weather tyre testing – but can’t.

        Getting the tyres right solves the cost reduction problem too. If the tyres are the most significant factor on performance, less will be spent on widgets, winklers and wankel aero kit and we’ll get back to good old fashioned engineering solutions for chassis and suspension.

        1. @thejudge13

          I agree if it means the teams will be given say 4 different tyre types to use. If they all still get given 2 from 8 instead of 2 from 4 nothing much will change.

          I doubt they would bring more dry-weather compounds to the races because it would increase their costs massively – unless the teams were willing to have those costs passed onto them. Which, with the sport’s finances under scrutiny at the moment, may not be out of the question, but my hunch is it won’t happen.

          At present each driver gets 11 sets of dry weather tyres per weekend, split between two compounds. Add another dry compound and a reasonable estimate suggests Pirelli have to produce and transport at least an extra 9,600 tyres per season (assuming 20 races).

          And then you have to consider that most of these extra tyres would probably be wasted. That’s clearly not an appealing prospect for Pirelli.

          1. @keithcollantine – I wonder, are there any leftover fresh tyres these days?

            I seem to recall reading something from the Bridgestone era where the company would collect all of the leftover unused tyres and destroy them. That just seems wasteful to me. If there are leftover fresh Pirellis, then perhaps the company could collect them and redistribute them at the end of the season so that the title contenders can have an extra set of tyres or two.

          2. I always wondered why the tyres were destroyed too – it’s amazing how they quote that a single set of F1 tyres is worth more than my car, yet happily throw them away without a regard.

            My guess is because of the chemical make-up of the tyres, once they’ve aged past a certain ‘best before’ they’d probably useless anyway. Of course, a better idea would be to *try* and normalise the tyre sizes between some series (F1/GP2/WSR) and cross-pollinate where possible.

            Would also be a good primer for GP2/WSR drivers on the tyres.

        2. @thejudge13, I’m afraid I have to disagree this time, particularly with the conclusion reached in your last paragraph. The best way to control costs would be to go back to tyres that didn’t need to be changed mid-race, and then the engineers could spend more time and money, as you put it, on good old fashioned engineering solutions, and perhaps,if allowed, some power-train development.

          1. I agree with you – I didn’t say it was the only way to solve the cost reduction problem. My observation was made in the context of 8,4 or whatever number of Tyres Pirelli are suggesting – not in an absolute manner.

  4. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
    1st November 2012, 1:40

    Nice article from mark sutton touched on two of the things i found oddest about the weekend.

    1) hamilton walking down the pitlane with an umbrella basically an up yours to all the photographers and by proxy the fans since we view their pictures. Have to wonder though, those glasses have been glued to his head most of the year this is the second time he has decided unnecessarily to go walk abouts with an umbrella what’s next? a frogman suit?

    2) the first thing i noticed on the sunday was the fog at least i assumed it was fog seems not though. I wouldn’t have been to pleased to spend a couple grand on paddock club tickets only to find out my smoked salmon was still being smoked on the way to the table.

    1. I can’t possibly see how it’s an “up yours” to the fans. For one, I personally really couldn’t get less about a picture of a guy from 1 foot away walking down the pitlane is at all interesting. Secondly, he didn’t like the level of attention the photographers were pressing on him, so he took a reasonable course of action to hide himself from them. As a fan of F1, I in no way feel slighted or deprived by this, just as I don’t when any other driver isn’t pictured walking in the pit lane. Congratulations to you if you followed that double negative.

      1. +1, agree with this.

    2. Although these photographers provide us with nice pictures, I can understand Lewis. If you’re just taking a walk and there they are again, I can imagine it feels like paperazzie, even if they’re not.
      So every once in a while he gets fed up with it. It shows character.

      1. @verstappen

        I can imagine it feels like paperazzi

        Particularly when they describe themselves using language like “we then papped him”.

        1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          1st November 2012, 17:12

          @Above comments

          If lewis didn’t want attention then i rather feel he’s in the wrong profession. As is any camera shy pop rock or movie star.

          Sutton makes it pretty clear in the article. He says we don’t go in the garage but the pitlane is our working area it’s the photographers office so anything that happens there is fair game lewis knows that and no one forced him to go for a walk.

          He also points out that photographers are human beings and at least in f1 can be reasoned with. If Lewis still felt they were taking the michael then sure get out the umbrella or what ever but he didn’t utter so much as a step back a bit please.

    3. Agree about the smog.

      In my opinion, BIC is not a bad circuit and, as Valencia proved this year, even seemingly hopeless venues can produce exciting races under the right circumstances (just like there are yawnfests on the classic circuits) so it’s not like all Tilkedromes are doomed to eternal boredom.

      But the smog was terrible, we often talk about the aesthetic side of F1, for instance, how ugly the current cars are. But I really cannot enjoy the race if the background stinks.

  5. Paul Hembrey complains about 1 stop strategies in india but whats wrong with 1 stop strategy’s?

    Also he says Pirelli want 8 compounds, Yet he said last year that the reason they limit themselves to 4 compounds at each race is because of cost’s. I would much rather them spend additional cost on bringing all there dry compounds to each Gp than coming up to 4 additional compounds.

    If people want to see more diverse strategies & if they really want to see the tyres continue to play a role then they just need to go back to how tyres were used pre-refueling.
    Bring all 4 dry compounds to every race, The softs are super fast but wear fast & the hards can go the full race distance without needing to be changed, Remove the rule mandating teams run 2 compounds & just let teams pick whatever compound/s they want to run & then let them decide how to run there race.

    Go back & watch some races from Pre-94 & look at how many different tyre strategies & how many different ways to run a race you had & how this produced the sort of unpredictability, interesting strategies & surprise results many today talk about wanting to see.

    Tyre compound choice & tyre strategy needs to be put back in the hands of the team/driver & not down to the FIA or tyre supplier.

    1. Seriously, what stopped them from choosing RED and YELLOW if one stop was an issue? Did they run out of them? :)

    2. Paul Hembrey complains about 1 stop strategies in india but whats wrong with 1 stop strategy’s?

      Nothing, particularly – but I think Hembrey is afraid that one-stop races will become the norm and that we will see more processional Grands Prix like India where teams are less likely to take a chance on a strategy the way they did in Canada.

      1. more processional Grands Prix like India

        There were 31 on-track overtakes in India, Thats hardly processional, Thats a decent number of overtakes.

        1. Yes, and almost all of them were in the midfield.

          1. And, for that matter, a fair few were a result of errors, accidents or cars slipping off the fairly slick track.

          2. So what if they were in the mid-field, Does racing/passing in the mid-field suddenly not count?

          3. Because you’re settling for a consolation prize. Sure, there were thirty overtakes in the midfield, but doesn’t it concern you that they were *only* in the midfield when there is a championship at stake?

        2. Overtakes != Racing

    3. +100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

      1. Should have posted @dizzy to my +Gazzillion

  6. I never liked Mosley but I’m not sure I like stealthy Todt either…

  7. “Marussia, the Formula One team 29.4% owned by Lloyds Banking Group, is in talks with potential investors to keep its wheels turning after making a £49m loss last year.”

    I have to question just how accurate this Marussia article is.

    For instance, the author printed this:

    The Sheffield-based team joined F1 in 2010 and is likely to be valued at about £45m – about a quarter of F1’s only listed team, Williams.

    However, if you read the team’s profile on their site, the team have something very different to say:

    Headquartered at the new Marussia Technical Centre in Banbury, UK, the team is majority-owned by the Russian supercar marque, Marussia, based in Moscow.

    When the author can’t even get something as basic as the team’s headquarters right – and, no, he hasn’t mistaken it for Virgin Racing; they were based in Dinnington – I have to question just how accurate the rest of his article is.

    1. Dinnington is an old mining town just outside of Sheffield. To all intents and purposes, or at least for the sake of the article, the reporter (and the team, and even people who live in Dinnington when asked) would probably just say they’re from Sheffield.

      I assume they must have moved when VR became Marussia.

      1. That’s still lousy journalism, considering the team is now based in Banbury.

  8. There are a couple of interesting articles about F1 in one of the UAE newspapers, such as this one:

    Abu Dhabi can become a home from home for F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen

    “Abu Dhabi Golf Club is closed for seeding, so we can’t play there this week and Lewis hasn’t played for a long time now anyway – he has given up,” Kovalainen, who plays off a 5.4 handicap, said. “He had a few bad rounds and wasn’t enjoying it as much; getting quite frustrated.

    1. I don’t blame him – I’ve never understood the appeal of golf.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I’ve never played golf but I just wonder if this says something about Lewis’ personality, namely, that he soon gets frustrated if he is unable to achieve good results. And it’s possible that will be the case at Mercedes…

        1. @girts – I’d say it’s far more likely that he gets frustrated because he’s playing golf.

          1. Golf is one of the few sports I find boring. And I watch Cricket.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys @girts well, Hamilton is said to be very good in others sports, so maybe not being goodis not to his liking…

        I have never played golf but enjoy watching, I understand Heiki is like obssesed with it, having even playstation game to play in his dressing room during the race weekend

    2. Is the Golf course air-conditioned ?

  9. @keithcollantine Great mention of Ricardo Rodriguez! He was such an amazing talent. He still is the youngest person to start a F1 grand prix from the first row AND the youngest person to stand in the podium for the LeMans 24 hours. What a legend…I wonder where his career would have gone had he not died so young :(

  10. Comment of the day for the first time for me! Thanks @keithcollantine

    1. @aledinho I also share your concern over Sauber’s ability to build a car as good, if not better than the C31. In that respect that’s a bold move from The Hulk. Force India will likely produce a consistent car but the team is nowhere near as exciting.

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