We won’t put F1 community at risk, says Todt

The BBC’s Ted Kravitz grilled Jean Todt on the Bahrain GP today, and in a fascinating encounter the Frenchman did not present a particularly convincing case as he tried to explain why there was such a big effort to get the race back this year.

He confirmed that team principals Stefano Domenicali and Vijay Mallya voted in favour – something that will clearly weaken any stance FOTA may subsequently take.

“It was a vote to the World Council members, and it was a unanimous agreement,” he said. “Stefano Domenicali is representing the team, and he voted in favour, Vijay Mallya is not representing the team principals, he’s representing India, he’s the Indian representative.”

He also suggested that the things could change in Bahrain, which makes one wonder why it was worth taking the risk and creating the huge inconvenience of shifting India.

“We are talking about October 30. Believe me the situation will be monitored. If we will have clear evidence that it will be risky situation it will be obviously taken into consideration. But the decision was taken with the information and with the situation the way it is now.”

Asked about the safety aspect, Todt diverted into track and road safety before making his point: “It’s part of our DNA, and we will never accept to put any of our people from our community at risk.”

Pressed on whether the Bahrainis had guaranteed the safety of everyone involved in F1, Todt was clear. “Yes of course, of course we have been told about safety. But as I said before, and you rightly mention, things may change. I hope that things improve not only in Bahrain, but in all the region.”

Kravitz also asked the threat from opposition interests that there would be a ‘day of rage’ to mark the race.

“You cannot avoid people threatening. Do we have to leave because people want to move in one situation rather than another one, because people will threaten? We know that it can happen in our countries [France and the UK], so if there is some threatening that there will be a problem in a European country, does it means that you have to decide to stop organising one international event? I don’t think so.

“I can understand we are living in a world where a lot of things have happened, and I have some sympathy for emotion. When we have to get to a decision we must be pragmatic and we must take into consideration the evidence we have.”

Asked about criticism from Max Mosley and Mark Webber, Todt said that other people had alternative views – and said that Webber should visit Bahrain and see for himself.

The full interview can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “We won’t put F1 community at risk, says Todt

  1. Phil

    Unbelievable. The sheer arrogance that the FIA is showing is incredible. They actually believe that everyone else is wrong about the situation in Bahrain and that they’re the only ones with the true picture.

    For Jean Todt to actually say see it for yourself to webber, when it’s plastered all over the Internet, defies belief. Does the FIA really believe everything the worlds media is printing and the human rights groups are making this stuff up?

    Or are they actually stupid enough that the bahrani govt has pulled the wool well and truly over their eyes?

  2. Perhaps someone should have shown Kravitz this story form the BBC before he interviews Toad…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13673299

  3. Nuno

    It surprises me that Todt is acting this way. I thought he was much more of a considerate man.

  4. It seems very clear that the message from the FIA is that if the team’s safety is assured, then they don’t care about the human rights of the people of Bahrain. The people will protest and the authorities will suppress those protests so that the race can go ahead. We will have a situation where a state abuses people human rights specifically on behalf of the FIA.

    This can only be bad for the image of the sport, the people involved, and the sponsors. Will companies be willing to be associated with Human Rights abuses? Can F1 survive without sponsors?

    This is the ultimate consequence of pursuing profit without regard for ethics. It’s not that the Bahrain GP should be cancelled, it’s that it should never have been part of F1 in the first place until it complies with international norms. Bernie has time and time again, shown disregard for such matters. It’s who he is.

  5. Seb

    Looking at his eyes, and hearing him speak makes me come to the conclusion that Todt has either: A. An arrogant belief in being correct on this issue, B. Had the wool firmly pulled over his eyes, or C. Utterly out of his depth.

    I’m inclined to believe that it is a combination of A, B and C. He appears to be slightly emotional too, perhaps he has adopted the mindset that there is a contingent out to harm his- and the FIA’s- reputation.

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