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.