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Todt: Only 'fools' think FIA looks out for Ferrari

24 September 2010

FIA President Jean Todt has branded as 'fools' anybody who suggests the governing body is biased in favour of Ferrari in the wake of its World Motor Sport Council's contentious Hockenheim team orders verdict earlier this month – as he argued the new ruling will render what has for so long been a grey area in the regulations, far more 'transparent'.

Ferrari was let off without any further punishment beyond the nominal $100,000 fine that had already been handed down to the Scuderia when the WMSC met to debate the German Grand Prix incident that saw Felipe Massa cede the lead – and victory – to team-mate Fernando Alonso following coded radio messages from the team, the Brazilian subsequently being thanked for having been so 'magnanimous' by his race engineer Rob Smedley.

Indeed, rather than penalising the Prancing Horse for the controversial episode – one that re-awakened uncomfortable memories of Austria, 2002, when a palpably unhappy and unimpressed Rubens Barrichello pulled over practically on the finish line to allow team-mate Michael Schumacher past to 'triumph', again at the request of Ferrari – the FIA deemed that it was in fact the and vague and 'inconsistently' applied team orders rule that needed to be evaluated and amended.

Todt – who acted as team principal at Maranello from 1993 until 2007 – has angrily denied that he is bowing to pressure to treat his former employers differently to other teams, an accusation that was frequently levelled at the Frenchman's predecessor in the most powerful and influential role in the sport, Max Mosley, a man who three years ago admitted that he considered Ferrari to be the most important team in F1.

“They are fools,” the 64-year-old told Argentine daily newspaper Clarin when asked for his opinion on those who contend that whilst all teams are treated equally in the top flight, one of them is treated rather more equally than the rest. “It is the same as when I was with Peugeot (in rallying), and also Ferrari. Now as President of the FIA, I do my best for the organisation, regardless of the particular interests of others.

“I'm not for or against team orders; it depends on the situation. It's as old as racing. After what happened with Alonso and Massa in Germany, the issue was re-opened and passed to a committee to make the rules clear. The idea is to find out what is most healthy and transparent.”


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