During a press conference at the International Press Ski Meeting at Madonna di Campiglio, Jean Todt confirmed that the F1 rule changes were met with surprise by those at the meeting.
“Reading them in detail, one cannot say that the new rules constitute a revolution. They will have to be studied and applied in a gradual way, using common sense. One must consider that the entire world is going through its worst economic crisis since 1929. It is not just sport which therefore finds itself in a difficult situation,” said Todt.
“The new rules are put forward as a way of reducing costs, but one has to consider that cost reduction can in itself entail a cost and it will probably be difficult to adapt the cars to the new rules prior to the first Grand Prix in Australia. One should not expect that launch control and traction control will disappear from the cars in Melbourne already. What is more likely is that, right from the start, we will lose bi-directional telemetry or the use of radios, even though this last rule causes some concern in terms of safety,” continued Todt.
“We will have just one engine for qualifying and the race and work with it from 11h00 to 14h00 on Saturday, then the warm-up should not take place on Sunday, even if this is one thing that has yet to be decided. The spare car can only be used in cases of emergency, but these have yet to be defined. The teams can also sell individual components to other teams under a clear commercial agreement.”
“Certainly, the driver will be more important,” added Jean Todt. “But it is difficult to quantify just how much.”
Commenting on the fact that the detailed application of the rules will be discussed by all the teams, Todt said: “It is clear that one team might be in favour of one modification but not another, with another team adopting the opposite view. We will have to reach an agreement which suits all parties involved. The only thing that is certain is that a reduction of costs is in the best interests of everyone.”
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