Jean Todt has lashed out at teams who are criticising the ‘new’ face of formula one.
Ahead of his much-vaunted meeting on Sunday with Bernie Ecclestone and Luca di Montezemolo, the FIA president hit back at criticisms of the sport in the wake of revolutionary rule changes. “Making a judgement after two races is like George Lucas or Brad Pitt speaking ill of their next film — (as if to say) ‘don’t come to the movie!'” Todt told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport in Bahrain. The Frenchman admitted he suspects the criticisms are being made because those complaining loudest are struggling to keep up with dominant Mercedes. “Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari knew for five years what engines they would need to use this year,” said Todt. “Mercedes has simply done a better job. “Such is motor sport,” he insisted. Todt said the only potentially valid criticism is about the quieter noise made by the turbo V6s. “I can understand if people think the sound is too quiet,” said Todt. “So we will look at ways we can make them a little louder.”
As for suggestions F1 should axe the fuel flow rule, he explained: “I could live without it, but the engineers tell me that then we would need ten engines per year instead of five.” Todt was particularly critical of his former Ferrari boss, president Montezemolo, who has slammed the new fuel limits as having turned F1 into an “economy run”. “Luca should first talk with his engineers and then he would be better informed,” he said. “There has always been fuel saving, even with the V8 engines of last year. How many times did we hear on the radio ‘you have to save fuel’?”
Another rule change proposed by the naysayers is a relaxing of the engine ‘freeze’, but Todt said: “Everyone would have to agree, but why should the Mercedes teams do that?” Indeed, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff rejected the theory the rules need to be urgently changed because F1 is now too slow. “We are eight tenths off pole from last year … so what are we talking about?” said the Austrian. “We are in a brilliant technical revolution and we are talking the sport down. Is it because we have an agenda?” He ruled out rule mid-season changes, saying tweaks are only possible for 2015, “but I don’t see that happening,” he told reporters. “Apparently some (teams) are saying ‘we haven’t managed to make the car efficient and fast with 100 kilograms (of fuel), so let’s add 10 kilograms — sorry, we didn’t do our job in the way we should have done’. “I find this whole discussion absurd,” said Wolff.
His Mercedes colleague, Niki Lauda, also ruled out agreeing to rule changes within 2014. “Otherwise, why didn’t everything change last year, when Red Bull was always winning?” he is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint. Lauda was particularly critical of the reigning world champions’ griping. “(Last year) I was happy for him. But now I say to him ‘Helmut (Marko), you can’t always win! “The new rules were decided five years ago. They are fact and we have to live with it. “Red Bull at the moment is not behaving in accordance with its supposedly fun and energetic image,” Lauda charged.