Since the beginning of the Formula 1 season ‘mis-start’ in Australia, the FIA and in particular it’s president Jean Todt has been at the centre of some criticism over the handling of the crisis.
Indeed Todt stated yesterday that he thought the criticism was outright “unfair” considering the situation faced by the FIA, FOM and the race organisers in Melbourne.
TJ13 reported last month on the backlash from fans and commentators of the sport as the Australian Grand Prix was held in limbo on Friday, during which the FIA president made a series of unfortunately timed tweets.
“Yes, of course there is no better way than leaving [the fans] at the gates instead of cancelling the Australia GP in time. That’s the best protection.” tweeted one angry fan in reply to Todt.
It’s true the situation at Albert Park had become very complicated to manage due to the identification of a Covid-19 case within the McLaren team, which forced the F1 team to make the heavy decision to cancel their race just minutes before the start of free practice on Friday.
With hindsight, there was a lot of criticism of the organisers, but above all of the FIA, which was accused of not having anticipated this scenario sufficiently.
“I think it has been interpreted extremely unfairly [the situation at the Australian Grand Prix]. Quite simply, I think everything that has been done has been done in an appropriate way. “Jean Todt explains to French TV station Canal+.
“In this kind of situation, we’ve already seen upheavals that were made at the last minute because of the acceleration of this crisis, it’s absolutely not a criticism, but when I see that just a week later people in France went to vote, so that means that when the decision was made to send the material to Australia, to send the teams to Australia, well at that time everything was fine. ”
“A few hours before the decision [to cancel the event] was made, we had a recommendation from the organizer, a recommendation from the government, a recommendation from the Australian Government Health Service to tell us that everything was in place for the Grand Prix to take place. ”
“And then unfortunately, there was this acceleration, there was this identification of a rival team, McLaren, which caused McLaren to decide that they would not take part in the race and at that point we asked for a meeting between the FIA teams, the FOM teams and the teams involved in F1, where there were different opinions. ”
“And then, with the elements going at high speed, well, it was decided a few minutes before the official start of free practice on Friday that the elements were not in place to give free rein to the organisation of the Grand Prix. ”
“And frankly, if I had to do it all over again, and I’m perfectly willing to take the blame for a mistake, because nobody’s infallible. But if we were faced with the same situation, I can guarantee you that we would make the same decision. ”