Talking to Jean Todt

I rushed to the GT1 World Championship in Paris this morning. I apologise for the slight glitch in lap times from the final test: trying to do too many things at the same time I guess. The bottom line is that the top cars are all very closely-matched. Are they really this close? We will have to see…

At the GT1 launch I saw a lot of old friends. It seems that old F1 drivers end up driving these things. I went because I wanted to have a quick chat with FIA President to see where we are with a number of Formula 1 issues at the moment and the federation has been very quiet. I wanted to know specifically about the F1 Commissioner role and the FIA view about Stefan GP and the mess with USF1. Todt was not really programmed to talk about F1 but was nonetheless helpful.

“I did not say that we would have a commissioner at the start of the season,” he said. By all accounts this is not an easy job to fill and Jean says that he will be holding a press conference in Bahrain to give more details about his Formula 1 ideas.

When it came to Stefan GP’s entry, it was clear that this is problematical.

“We have rules that we have to protect,” he said. But when asked if acquiring USF1’s entry was the only way for Stefan GP to get an entry, he would not be drawn. He said that the FIA was looking for solutions but would not be drawn on what those solutions will be. This will all be revealed in the days ahead.

Todt used the GT1 launch to draw attention to the FIA’s campaign to improve road safety and pointed out that tomorrow in New York the United Nations General Assembly will discuss the next UN resolution on road safety which proposes a 10-year plan of action to combat the problem. This grew out of the FIA’s Commission for Global Road Safety which has been campaigning for the plan for some years, its aim being to reduce the projected increase in road traffic fatalities by 50% from its anticipated 2020 level.

14 thoughts on “Talking to Jean Todt

  1. Theres only 1 way to increase road safety Joe……and its a simple solution! Im not actually going to say what it is, but Id like everyone to post their answer to the problem. This 1 simple idea would cut road deaths worldwide, and I know you all have the right answer!!! Only problem like most things is getting the politicians to implement “simple solutions to specific problems”. Trouble with politicians tho is that they wont do phuk all unless they`re getting something out of it. #:)

  2. I thought the UN was chartered to prevent wars and such. They have too much $$$ if they’re getting involved in “road safety”. Same for the FIA. STFU and regulate races.
    Can’t wait for the fools to try and make me drive on the left side of the street, in order to meet some “universal driving code”.

  3. My guess is that if Stefan is to get an entry without acquiring USF1 (which looks unlikely as Windsor and Anderson are clinging to their long-standing fallacies), Ferrari will make the ejection of Mike Coughlan a quid pro quo. Unanimity from existing teams would be required to let someone new in at this stage, right?

    Do any journalists actually have a (contraband) copy of the Concorde Agreement, or does everyone depend on selective leaks whenever a Concorde issue arises? Although I suppose anyone who does have a copy would keep officially schtum about it and write things like “the Concorde agreement is believed to provide…”

  4. Somehow, I don’t think ‘An Evening With Jean T’ would fill many seats.

    Now, you’d think he’d at least have prepared a few answers to questions about the new teams. It is a farce, if not a scandal.

    ‘UN resolutions on Road Safety’ . . . . hmmmm . . . perhaps he has designs on a career as a Euro politician.

  5. I was at the same event and I noticed three things (though none of them really has that much to do with F1):
    1. That moment when charisma was handed out Jean Todt must have looked the other way. I am sure he has qualities as FIA president. I just wonder whether we will ever get the chance to see them.
    2. Michael Bartels (FIA GT1 driver and former squeeze of Steffi Graf) should stand in with a great chance in the prestigious Tony Soprano lookalike contest.
    3. The “launch” was an extravaganza of sorts. In particular I noticed one very renowned motorsport journalist a few rows in front of me seemingly having a nap during the presentation.

  6. Surely the obvious thing if US F1 has flopped is to leave the thirteenth place open for 2010? Nobody wanted 13 teams in the first place, and my bet is they only took the number to 13 in the expectation that at least one of the fledglings wouldn’t make it, so 13 possibles was the best way of getting 12 starters.

    The only thing that has changed is that sweet old uncle Bernie seems to have taken a shine to Stefan for some strange reason, so now your friend Jean is awaiting instructions and can’t tell you anything until he receives them.

    If there was a B race for cars that couldn’t qualify within 3 seconds of pole, I could see some sense in having so many cars. But the 107% rule is so lax that 26 cars on the track including many slow ones could be a disaster for the racing.

  7. Anthony–

    The 107% rule has been repealed, I believe. The Campos-Dallara will be circulate as slowly as it needs to.

  8. My opinion is that the best case of scenario would be if USF1 and Campos flopped and then the FIA would select two additional entrants for 2011 in a serious manner from a serious pool of possible entries. Think of Prodrive, Lola, Epsilon Euskadi…

  9. It would be nice to write a book about the demise of USF1. To be fair, there were some nice ideas. They did build a state of the art facility and the proposed ‘logistics’ base in Spain is a dream park. Aguri, by contrast, started with some old Arrows chassis.

    But surely it never could have worked without bottomless pockets.

    It is a pity that, every time someone tries to extend F1 in America, some awful farce occurs, like the 2005 Indy.

    Speaking of Aguri, if I recall, that was when the 107% rule was rescinded.

  10. Surely the obvious thing if US F1 has flopped is to leave the thirteenth place open for 2010? Nobody wanted 13 teams in the first place, and my bet is they only took the number to 13 in the expectation that ferrari enzo is good

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