High costs hurting F1 ‘show’ – Todt

Wed, 29 March 2017, 09:35

Mar.29 (GMM) As far as the F1 pecking order is concerned, Jean Todt says he likes what he has seen so far in 2017.

“It’s good,” he told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, “because a competitive Ferrari is essential for formula one.”

And the FIA president also said Mercedes is obviously “still very strong” this year.

“There has been controversy about the choice of second driver (Valtteri Bottas), but I never had any doubts about him,” said Todt.

“The real problem is another: the gap between the first car and the last.”

Todt says the cause of that problem is the discrepancy in budgets between the biggest and smallest teams, with the “loser” being “the show”.

One solution, he said, is to clamp down on the sort of simulation tools the most sophisticated teams now use.

“In my day, it was a miracle if you did 5 or 6 laps on the first test day. Now they’re doing 70-80 laps without stopping,” said the former Ferrari chief.

Todt said the detailed work behind the scenes is “fascinating”, but “in F1 we need emotions, action and entertainment on the track, not in the laboratory”.

And so when it comes to redistributing F1’s vast income more fairly, Todt said he supports Liberty Media.

“We need a different redistribution of income,” said the Frenchman. “It is not our problem – the new owners will take care of this – but I think it is clearly a priority.”

However, Todt played down early worries about a lack of overtaking in 2017.

He said: “Let’s say that it’s the price you pay for the fastest cars in the corners and straights that are now more difficult to drive.

“I am sure that Ross Brawn as well as the FIA will address this topic, but for now I will just mention that the overtaking problem has always been there.”

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