In the round-up: Former FIA president Jean Todt revealed the team principals of Red Bull and Mercedes lobbied him to intervene in the dispute over the outcome of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
I told team bosses I couldn’t intervene – Todt
Todt stepped down as FIA president as planned three days after the infamous race at Yas Marina in which Max Verstappen won the world championship by overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the race after F1 race director Michael Masi broke the rules while arranging a last-lap restart.
Before Todt’s replacement by current president Mohamed Ben Sulayem, the FIA issued a statement claiming the ongoing row over the race was “tarnishing the image of the championship and the due celebration of the first drivers’ world championship title won by Max Verstappen” but promised a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future with all relevant parties.” This was concluded following Todt’s departure, and involved the removal of Masi as race director.
Todt was not present in Abu Dhabi for the final F1 race of his tenure as president but Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and his opposite number at Mercedes, Toto Wolff, both urged him to intervene. However Today told Corriere della Serra “I didn’t do anything, it’s not the role of the president of the FIA.”
He compared his position to that of Gianni Infantino, the head of football governing body FIFA. “Referees must be autonomous, have you ever heard Infantino say ‘Here there was a penalty, but not here?’”
“I watched the race in the country house together with the crew. They call me, Horner and Wolff, and I answered them: ‘I can’t interfere, it’s the responsibility of the marshals and the race director’.”
Aston Martin’s success partly thanks to Vettel – Krack
Sebastian Vettel deserves a measure of the credit for the progress Aston Martin has made with its car this season, says team principal Mike Krack. The four-times world champion retired at the end of last year and was replaced by Fernando Alonso.
Krack said Vettel “has his merits in where the car is today, because we had many, many meetings last year where he gave us a hint – ‘do this’ or ‘do that’ or ‘do not do this’ with the new car. So I think he has his merits in here.”
After finishing seventh in the world championship last year, Aston Martin are currently second in the standings. Asked whether it was a shame Vettel had retired just before their leap forward, Krack said: “We have to respect the decision that he took. He reflected for a long time before he made that decision and when he made it and if we have to move on, and he has to move on.
“If it’s a shame for him, yes or no, this I think you should ask him.”
Australian GP should have ended under VSC – Tost
AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has joined the critics of the two-lap standing restart at the Australian Grand Prix, saying the race director should have used the Virtual Safety Car.
“The last red flag was unnecessary,” he told Sport1. “A Virtual Safety Car phase after Magnussen’s accident would have been enough. At the scene of the accident, the speed would have been reduced sufficiently.
“What’s more, there were only two laps to go. This would have saved the standing start and thus the accidents.”
Happy birthday to Craig Woollard!