The president of the FIA, Jean Todt, is a very different character to his predecessor. Bernie Ecclestone expressed this fact succinctly when commenting on the lack of progress in the F1 strategy group: “Jean is no Max,” he said.
Yet Todt was elevated to his current position because he is the antithesis of the confrontational Max Mosley. The Frenchman has always stated he will govern with consensus, which sounded appealing in F1-land during the latter days of the Mosely reign.
One of the straws which broke the camel’s of the Moseley presidency, was his position on cost control. Max was about to guillotine regulations through, restricting teams’ spending, just as he unilaterally introduced parc ferme regulations immediately following F1 qualifying sessions.
Conversley, Todt described his approach to governance as follows. “If we can achieve a result by harmony, it will always be better,” he told the FT in a 2012 interview. Though, the FIA president says he too is committed to cost cutting.
Then again, its now fashionable in the paddock to agree with cost control as a big idea. Just not in my back yard.
Speaking to French publication, Nice Matin, Todt explains: “The obvious problem is the distribution of [F1] revenues to the teams, but the FIA will not intervene. Everyone initially approved this system [of income distribution] and now argue about it.”
Income distribution is now consistently on the agenda in the engine room of F1 power.
Interestingly, just before the big pow pow in Biggin Hill earlier this month, a full table was disclosed to the media of how each team had been paid from the F1 2014 revenues; for and despite of their their participation last season.
This information is usually tough to come by.
Jean Todt is committed to the technological path Formula One is set upon, dismissing the accusation it is too complex. “We have always said that we need to make the connection between racing and road cars. We cannot go back to manual gearboxes, if everyone else is using on-board computers”.
Formula One is the “laboratory for developing new technologies,” argues Todt.
Further, the Frenchman doesn’t believe the current Mercedes dominance is what is turning off the viewers and spectators. “At the French Open, nine of the last ten tournaments were won by Rafael Nadal, so did they change the rules? No. People just have to get better – and this is the same in Formula One”.
Formula One may not be in crisis, but those responsible for its governance are doing little to dispel that image. Todt concludes, “I believe Formula One is generally in good shape, but people just don’t talk about that enough.”