F1 News: Jean Todt Edition

What Happens When All the News Is Racing Weekend News (!!)

12:01am EST — With most of the news in Formula1 coming out of the season opener in Bahrain, the only wrap-up comes from a press conference with Jean Todt, FIA president, his first as president at a Grand Prix.  While he spoke on a wide range of subjects, two of the most interesting points made were about the, as-yet, unfilled position of FIA F1 commissioner and the possibility of reinstating the 107% rule.

Regarding the commissioner, Todt said, “I must say I am always very ambitious about the profile of the people working with me, and it is not very easy to find the right profile considering that the FIA has limited facilities, [and] limited budgets. So we need to find somebody who is willing to give his time, with his capacity, almost free of charge. It is something that makes the choice more difficult but we are at quite a good point, and for me I prefer to wait a few months and have the profile I want to find rather than rush to fill the position,” according to an article published by Autosport.  What does that mean?  There have obviously been some issues in finding someone wealthy enough, connected enough to the sport, and willing to do the work in order to announce an appointment.  Who could fill the position, without raising eyebrows as someone too biased to make the appropriate decisions?  Hard to say, as those with the qualifications are likely too biased, or would be perceived as such.

A separate article from Autosport quotes Todt on the rule requiring starters at each F1 Grand Prix to qualify within 107% of the time set by the pole-sitter, a rule last implemented in 2002.  He said, “We are very in favour [sic] of reintroducing the 107 percent limit. The reason why it was abandoned was because of the change in qualifying which was happening with fuel to start the race in the car. Now to change that for 2010 you need to have the unanimous agreement of the teams, and to get the unanimous agreement of the teams the FIA will be supporting this solution. I don’t think it will happen so we have to wait until 2011 to introduce it.”  What Todt refers to is that any rules change for 2010 will require the unanimous approval of all the teams, even those likely to be removed from competition by this rule’s implementation.  However, only seventy percent of the teams would have to agree to the change for the 2011 rules, a much easier percentage to obtain.  While the times of, say, Bruno Senna’s HRT in the Friday practices were well out of that margin, the grid, at least during practices, was quite a bit further spread out than last season, with only the top four in the second practice within a second of the fastest time (to see all the Friday times, see this article at On Any Sunday, These Days).  Still, at the Bahrain GP, the 107% rule would allow a driver setting a time about eight seconds off the fastest time set so far this weekend to compete in the race.


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