Start, Le Mans, 2018

Todt: F1 and WEC might have to accept calendar clashes

World Endurance Championship

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FIA president Jean Todt admits the motorsport calendar is becoming too crowded to avoid clashes between major series such as Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship.

Asked at a media conference during the Six Hours of Spa whether the Le Mans 24 Hours will continue being held on non-F1 race weekends, Todt said “ideally if you can avoid a clash it’s good but you must be realistic.”

“You take each single FIA championship and if you add them you will have more than 52 [races]. And we only have 52 weeks. And most of the championships are starting from week 10 until week 47/48. So it makes 37/38 weeks.

“So a miracle cannot exist. It’s very easy to criticise, to say it’s no good, it should not happen, but then in reality sometimes you don’t have the choice. So you have to accept it.”

F1, WEC and Formula E representatives met in Monaco to discuss how to improve calendar co-ordination between the three series. However RaceFans understands F1 is unlikely to move its races to accommodate other championships.

WEC cut the number of races it holds from nine last year to just five this year as part of its 2018-18 ‘super season’. One of these, the Six Hours of Fuji, originally clashed with an F1 race, and was moved when Toyota wanted star driver Fernando Alonso to race in both.

Some teams have been reluctant to allow their drivers to race in multiple championships. However Todt, who enjoyed prolonged F1 success in charge of Ferrari between 1994 and 2007, believes it’s “very healthy to have those opportunities for drivers” and said he would have let his drivers do the same as Alonso.

“It is essential if you want to have a driver very competitive and very happy you must try to make sure that he is in the most friendly surroundings,” Todt continued.

“If a driver is happy in a team, if he feels that he gets so much support, he has more energy. But [it doesn’t] need to be a driver. I’m sure in your business if you are happy, if you have good harmony, good surroundings, you will be performing better rather than if its controversy from the morning to the evening. It’s just a fact of life.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Chris Turner
Being pelted by rain on his first visit to an F1 race at the 1998 British Grand Prix wasn't enough to dim Chris's passion...

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14 comments on “Todt: F1 and WEC might have to accept calendar clashes”

  1. F1, WEC and Formula E representatives

    How nice of them to invite the slow kid to the meeting too.

    1. Yeah don’t know what E is doing in that list

      1. Several drivers (including two of the three title contenders) combine Formula E and WEC, so the rulings about F1/WEC calendar arrangements affect it too.

    2. Should rename to Formula R, for F1 Rejects and Retirees.

      1. Mock as much as you want but FE is on the rise and here to stay!
        Rather than feel threatened why not enjoy another competitive series – it only benefits all of Motorsport.

      2. Formula BE (Better without the Egos)

    3. @flatsix, I wonder how long it will be before the comments are less mocking in tone – will you still be making the same sorts of comments when Porsche joins Formula E in 2019, for example?

      1. Or does @flatsix celebrate when the new Electric road Porsche (TAYCAN?) takes the crown back from Tesla?

      2. I have absolutely nothing against electric racing, and I even try to get a Formula E race in my busy schedule from time to time, but considering they’re already losing viewers every season since S1 I somewhat struggle to believe all this ‘future proclaiming’ it will be the definite future and ready to overtake Formula 1. I will try to catch more races depending on which drivers Porsche will field.

        The series isn’t as competitive as many think, the gimmicks are aplenty, the aero is more show than needed, the drivers (not all of them) aren’t top tier, the circuits are terrible, and if you really believe any of the drivers would give up their WEC seat for FE I do think you’re going to be disappointed. The main reasons I see for the giant factory support is a) low budget, b) low knowledge, c) ‘electric, wooh’….

        So maybe, one can have a good reason to be ‘mocking’ something without the necessary assumption he must be bias, anon…

        1. @flatsix Losing viewers? Where does that come from? They already have more followers on social media and YouTube than WEC or any other non-F1 FIA series (WRC is also ahead, but that’s a different thing). And the number of followers has only been on the rise. Next year when Massa enters the series FE will gain huge amount of new fans from Brazil and from other Latin American countries.

          Aero is a bit silly but they are formula cars by nature, so a formula car with no aero would also look a bit unprofessional don’t you think? Gimmicks aplenty? Yeah nobody likes FanBoost, but thank god it plays a really small part in races. I’ve seen pretty much every ePrix and I can remember only 2 times when driver clearly benefitted from FanBoost. It’s an annoyance, but a minor one and I don’t get why everyone bash the series just because of it. Team orders basically are non-existant in FE and if I could choose between team orders and FanBoost I’d pick FanBoost as a lesser evil. Minimum pit stop time was very sensible “gimmick” from a safety point of view and I wish they would get it back.

          Apart from few Ma Qing Hua kind of performances the driver line up is easily the most competitive after F1. Only IndyCar and DTM can challenge FE, but in brutal honesty they’re not even close. Some tracks have been indeed horrible but we’ve also seen some great tracks as well, like Punta del Este, Montreal ePrix, Mexican ePrix etc.

          But, as always, to each their own. People like different things and that’s alright by me.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with him. In the end, it isn’t the end of the world anyway, so no biggie.

  3. seriously, who has 6 hours to blow on a race? I get Le Mans. classic event. but to watch an entire season of 6hr races? i dont know who the audience is. someone please explain. as a simple gauge, you can see 111,628 youtube views on the highlights of Spa 6hrs. Thats like $850 in monetization. Surely Todt isnt paying his salary from that?

    1. Not very many. WEC has a tiny but loud following. Reading sites like this might give you an impression that WEC is 2nd most followed motorsport category after F1, but in reality it’s far off.

    2. There is definitely an audience, even if WTCR is now, statistically, the most-followed sport and even some regional single-seater/touring car series out-audience WEC. However, it is the most common race and series that F1 drivers have considered combining (or indeed actually combined) with F1 the last 2 decades. The ruling has implications on that occasional crossover, not just with fans.

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