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Todt: F1's issues overblown

NEWS STORY
25/06/2015

Eight races in to a season which has been totally dominated by Mercedes, at a time when all and sundry are having a pop at the sport pointing to falling viewer numbers, lack of new sponsors and empty seats in the stands, the FIA president has been conspicuous by his absence.

Whilst he has attended races, little has been heard of him indeed, we have heard more from Max Mosley who stood down as president in 2009.

All that changed today when, appreciating that there is a need to address the issue, Jean Todt met with journalists in Paris.

"I don't think we are facing a cancer, we are facing a headache," he said, according to ESPN, "so we need to find a prescription for the headache. I disagree that we have to cure a cancer.

"In a way, the headache is on the way to being cured," he continued. "We don't need big changes. I don't think F1 needs big changes. And if it would need big changes, then honestly I need to have some input. I need to know where the problem is, because I don't know where it is.

"So if you present me a patient and he tells me he has a headache, and I give him a prescription for cancer, then I cannot!"

Referring to the Strategy Group, which has been widely criticised as not being worthwhile, indeed, unfit for purpose, he said: "They are making a big story about the Strategy Group. I have read quite often that it should be FIA or FOM to decide (the rules). Again, I am quite happy to sit with Bernie and to decide what could be good for the sport, but again we need to be sure that it is good for the sport.

"Those who claim that they should not be involved and that it should be the FIA and the commercial rights holder to decide, they will be the first to shout and saying 'They are not following the right governance procedures. They did not consult us'," he added, clearly referring to Christian Horner's suggestion that the teams should have no say in the framing of the rules.

"So there is a way to do that. If they keep saying that it should be us to decide, then I should ask for an official mandate. I will have that in writing. So okay, if they want it, give us an official mandate and then we will see how they react. It is a lot of talking. Myself, I don't say it is good or bad, but I am not a big talker. Normally, I prefer to act and do things."

As the teams look to rework the regulations for 2017, with the aim not only of making F1 more exciting for fans but also, hopefully, closing the performance gap between the teams, the Frenchman warned that those who are not winning will always criticise the regulations.

"In 1993 we had the problem with brakes we had the problem with tyre wear and we had the problem of being careful with the fuel," he said, though at that time he was running Peugeot Talbot Sport. "So It's not something which has just come in, but does it mean we should not consider it. If the answer was let's give 5kg more of fuel, I don't have any problem. But at the moment if you have some bitter drivers and you ask them if they are happy, they will say no. That is the truth. If you have a sincere discussion about why is that guy not happy it's because he's not winning.

"If you ask Hamilton if he's happy right now he will not be happy. If you ask Rosberg if he's happy, he will be very happy," he said, a reference to their result in Austria last weekend. "And vice versa at the previous race. But again, it is a fact of life, you are happy if you have success and you are not happy if you don't have success. Then we have the way of communicating and the way of hiding.

"People say, 'Yes, but it's boring to have Mercedes (winning all the time)'. I agree, as a sport enthusiast I would love to have a kind of undefined starting grid. But if you are the best, if you do a better job.

"Red Bull and Vettel, were they annoyed about the domination? I remember a few years ago - I think in Singapore - I was shocked because I think he was 1.5s faster than the second best. Then before that it was Ferrari domination, and I remember I joined Ferrari and thought 'where is Ferrari going to be'. A few years after, people are saying 'We are so fed up, we don't watch TV now because we know the result before the start of the race'.

"So the prescription would be to have as many competitive teams as possible, and to have from one race to another a different particular winner.

"If you take all the other sport, I mean football I'm no expert but I think Bayern Munich were winning the last ten championships. Now in France PSG are winning. In the UK it's changed a little more but it's always between two or three teams. In golf you had Tiger Woods, now you have a new American guy coming up. Rafael Nadal won nine times in a row at Roland Garros. You take Novak Djokovic, he's almost unbeatable. Usain Bolt, for a couple of years he has not lost the 100 metres. That's a fact in sport, and if you want to beat them you must be better.

“So I simply hope - and with all the respect I have for Mercedes - that somebody gets better."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by karel, 29/06/2015 12:02

"Ps I don't want to be pesonnel but to my opinion Ecclestone and Todt are the cancers"

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2. Posted by karel, 29/06/2015 12:01

"How blind can you be ? Like an ostrich, which is known for its habit of burying its head in the sand.
Probably he's short term blinded by the money. "

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3. Posted by SideGlance, 29/06/2015 4:36

"Todt is WRONG, one team domination is wrong, not so much real racing is wrong, awful awful sounding engines is wrong, too many driver aids is wrong, non sweating and tired drivers after a race is wrong, boring races is wrong, expensive constantly breaking 8 hr replacement engines is wrong, did I mention boring racing is wrong ?

When head is blinded by being inserted in sand past eyes - all things 'look' fine !! ;-)"

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4. Posted by Joop deBruin, 26/06/2015 17:12

"All I heard was Beck's "Loser" coming out of his empty head."

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5. Posted by Mugmug, 26/06/2015 11:06

"To me, JT is the headache and the cancer. What kind of "leadership" is this BS that comes out of his mouth?
The head of an organization, any organization, is chosen for his organizational , leadership and people skills amongst others. He's shunning the accountability completely, waiting for someone else to fix the problems that he should actively finding a fix for.

What a loser!

"

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6. Posted by Darvi, 26/06/2015 10:04

"@scF1fan - I've read the article again, I'm not aware that JT said anything that would lead anyoen to think he's working towards a solution for anything. Maybe I've missed that part of the interview."

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7. Posted by Vision, 26/06/2015 6:30

"scf1fan is right a per pro fiscal skewing and the direct impact it has on the competition on track. That is where Todt's headache lies - the FiA 'is rules' and the problem is the commercial element which as we all know Bernie stripped away from that FiA control.

Until FiA has the courage to challenge the commercial rights scenario in the interests of fairness (see Art 2 International Sporting Code) and to legislate the commercial rights distribution in an equal way nothing will change."

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8. Posted by Dajobo, 26/06/2015 1:04

"JT just summed up the problem perfectly by wasting all that time discussing if the teams and drivers were happy while barely giving a thought to the fans satisfaction.

Make it simple for him please somebody and explain this:
less fans = less sponsors
less sponsors = less dollars
less dollars = less F1
"

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9. Posted by Natcheztoo, 25/06/2015 23:02

"Todt -

"I don't think we are facing a cancer, we are facing a headache," he said, according to ESPN, "so we need to find a prescription for the headache. I disagree that we have to cure a cancer."

If he is wrong and F1 has a cancer of the brain, he will kill it thinking the way he does. He and his FIA cabal are responsible for the idiotic "greening of F1!"

I don't mind a team dominating. There is just no "show" to make the rest of it worth watching. The cars sound like Evinrude outboard motors gurgling under the water. It has be be pitiful when the drivers start making fun of it and feel that they are being made to look bad in these current cars.

Fie and away with it! Fire and brimstone is what I want in a F1 car.

"

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10. Posted by CL, 25/06/2015 19:22

"I don't care if one team or another dominates, what I want to see is drivers racing cars by pushing them to the edge where mistakes can be made and true battles can take place. Last year had some of that but to hear a Mercedes boss describing the last quarter of the Austrian race as luxurious is just taking the proverbial. I don't care if the cars are 5 seconds faster or not, as long as they are able to battle against each other and that's down to aero that means you can follow and pass, tyres that can be pushed and enough fuel to last the race with the hammer down. As for the reliability taxes, force engine suppliers to sell their engines at a fixed cost for the season, then if they supply a crap engine that falls apart they will end up giving replacements away for free. No more tokens needed to reduce costs, development goes full steam ahead.

Who can deliver something like that? I'm at a loss."

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11. Posted by testa rossa, 25/06/2015 17:34

"Bernie always wanted the teams involved in the rule making ( strategy group )....now they block any change throught their own disagreements. LOL."

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12. Posted by scf1fan, 25/06/2015 17:31

"Pfffft to most of the critics!! Other than his analogies leaving a bit to be desired (perhaps something's were lost in translation) I'll say that JT has pretty much nailed it!!! The only team overtly grousing about not being competitive is RB. The rest of F1's issues are related to the financial disparity between the teams. (And the rather ham-fisted ways the rules were structured to try to deal with "cost-saving" in an ineffectual way of trying to deal with a portion of that.)

@Ro - It's "boring" on the track because one team is so much better than the others. MB (like RB, like Ferrari, like McLaren, like Williams, like Lotus, etc. before them) created that superiority. Now, if you are ok with penalizing the superior performer, that can be done. SCCA Trans-Am did that to the Audi Quattros, I think they were carrying 400 pounds of extra weight at the season's end. (They were still superior, but it made the races a more "competitive" show.) I'd be ok with that . . . sort of; the teams can race to the rules, whatever they might be.

@Agrajag - And how many cooks need to be the kitchen to ruin the recipe versus one that may or may not know what they are doing? Everyone has their own opinion about what will "solve" the problem. How/who will be the "right" one? (And from a historical perspective, it didn't work out all that well for Napoleon . . . either! ;-)

@Darvi - He pointed out exactly the solution for what you said, "So the prescription would be to have as many competitive teams as possible, and to have from one race to another a different particular winner." The difficulty is in creating the environment for the "competitive teams" when the (long term) system in F1 has always been so skewed to giving more money to the teams that are already winning and have the money because of that.

I'll caution JT's point of different winners at every race though . . . creating a condition where no one can excel has it's own problem. (I watch every F1 race, I watch 3-4 Nascar and Indy Races (combined!) . . . Now which series really has the problem?)"

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13. Posted by Darvi, 25/06/2015 15:12

"Wow, are we in trouble. He attends the races, surely he's noticed that there are way fewer fans and that there are also fewer cars on the grid and an even fewer number that are competitive. I'm shocked at his comments!"

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14. Posted by Agrajag, 25/06/2015 15:02

"Nero, not Napoleon.
"

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15. Posted by Ro, 25/06/2015 14:13

""You dont know where the problem is" ????? F1 has become boring to watch and follow. Get your head out of the sand Mr Todt....it may be a headache to you but its much much more. A sticking plaster wont fix this one...."

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