Jean Todt (FRA) FIA President. 04.09.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Netherlands

FIA ‘maybe too permissive’ of teams criticising officials – Todt

2021 F1 season

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Outgoing FIA president Jean Todt suggested the FIA has been too lenient of F1 teams and drivers being publicly critical of race officials.

The 2021 Formula 1 season was marred by a series of controversial incidents, prompting heavy criticism of FIA race director Michael Masi and of decisions made by stewards during multiple grands prix. This culminated at the season-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Mercedes protested the result of the race after Lewis Hamilton lost the world championship on the final lap to Max Verstappen after a disputed late race restart.

Earlier today Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said Masi had robbed Hamilton of the championship. Todt feels his organisation may have been too willing to allow teams to be critical of race officials and the decisions they make.

“Of course, we can always improve,” Todt said. “But then, you need to behave as well.”

Todt made reference to Olympique Lyonnais president, Jean-Michel Aulas, receiving a 10-match ban – five of which are suspended – from the French Football Federation after comments he made to a referee following a recent game.

“I was reading today in the French sport magazine L’Equipe, the president of the Lyon football club – which is one of the most important teams – he has been forbidden for 10 games because he’s spoke badly about the referee,” explained Todt. “So maybe we are being too permissive, you know?

“On one side, I feel it is important to have a dialogue between the governing body, between the teams, between the drivers, between the commercial rights holders, but it should not go against us.”

After deciding not to formally appeal over the race, Mercedes vowed to “hold the FIA accountable” after the governing body announced they would hold a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise” into the incident. The team also boycotted the annual FIA prize giving gala in Paris, which they were required to send representatives to as Hamilton finished second in the drivers’ championship with Mercedes winning the constructors’ title.

Todt says the FIA will analyse actions taken by both race control and stewards from throughout the 2021 season to try and make the rules of racing clearer for all competitors, but dismissed any suggestion that race officials fail to remain impartial in their decision making.

“In a way, it’s human behaviour,” said Todt. “You see, Max after the first corner when Lewis overtook him on the right side, he said ‘I’m [being] persecuted’. I mean, believe it or not, nobody is [being persecuted], but it’s the perception. So in the heat of the action, you have your own feelings.

“On the other side, you have the race director, you have the stewards who have a lot of organisation. Are we perfect? We are not perfect. And incidentally, that’s why I’ve suggested to have a full review to see what needs to be improved in light of what has happened. But not only at this race, but what has happened over the year.”

Todt steps down tomorrow as FIA president at the end of his third and final term. An election will be held tomorrow, with FIA members voting to determine Todt’s successor.

The former Ferrari F1 team principal says he still maintains a love for the sport’s premier category.

“Incidentally, I was watching the [Abu Dhabi Grand Prix],” said Todt. “Tomorrow, I leave this position, but I still love Formula 1. I will still watch the grand prix.”

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Will Wood
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  • 101 comments on “FIA ‘maybe too permissive’ of teams criticising officials – Todt”

    1. Put Lukashenko as FIA president! He fits FIA perfectly.

    2. Amazing, the day Mercedes decide not to drag the FIA through it’s own kangaroo court. It’s the teams fault we are in this mess as we’ve allowed them, to be publicly critical rather than keep it secret under threat of punishment. Of course FIFA are a paragon of virtue. They are not a self regulated ‘authority’ whose sole goal is to aggrandise their own product and protect their reputation either are they?

      1. Yep, the FIA had a chance to admit failings and instead are gaslighting instead… Utterly despicable.

    3. Silence. You shall not question a race where drivers 7 through 14 definitely had their race compromised and drivers 3 through 6 were not afforded the same opportunities as drivers 1 and 2.

      1. Yes follow footballs example. Good call….

      1. Lmaooo. Article 12.2.1 (f) which forbids “any words, deeds or writings that have caused moral injury or loss to the FIA, its bodies, its members or its executive officers, and more generally on the interest of motor sport and on the values defended by the FIA.”

        Toto should be summon to meet FIA stewards at the 1st race of 2022. Just like they did to Horner.

        1. lol… they should summon Masi then

          1. they should summon Masi then

            Yep. While Toto’s words may be considered damaging to the FIA, it is Masi’s actions which have caused the moral injury to the FIA. He is just pointing this out.

    4. And he is right, Masi had to operate under immense pressure from both teams.

      CH was rightly told his comments were not ok after the ‘rogue marshal’

      Toto’s outburst ‘Mikey mikey’ was extreme out of line.

      Both should get a race ban for it.

      1. Martin Brundle was good on this. He said that all the lobbying by team managers has to stop. Quite right.

      2. CH was criticising a volunteer marshal for doing his job.

        TW was criticising a race director who was ignoring the rulebook and making something up which was pretty much certain, barring a miracle, to cost his driver the title.

        They are not even close to comparable.

        1. Horner made excuses.
          TW just keeps on giving and went beserk. Total lack of respect for the referee…
          Indeed not comparable.

          1. yeah, cause Toto is perfectly right with his critics!

          2. Can you show us where on the doll Toto touched you?

            1. Still playing with dolls do you…

        2. @drmouse

          Agreed in other sports CH would get 1 game/raceban and Toto several.

        3. I didnt cost them the title. They lost the race.

          1. the race which caused them the title. even a three year old would understand the causal connection.

            1. A season is called a season for a reason. Just because you didnt like the outcome of the last race, doesnt mean the races preceding it weren’t just as much as a joke. They similarly impacted the outcome of the overall championship.

    5. Todt has all the reasons to say this — but certainly not after the Abu Dhabi race. It’s not as if Masi was criticized this badly even after Saudi Arabia race. People did not take it this badly when he “offered” VER to move to third for restart when he cut the corner and held the place, when it could have been easily sent to the stewards for a 5-second time penalty. He was offered to give the position back. (F2 race saw a similar incident where Daruwala was given 5 second penalty that pushed him leading the race to last, as the race ended under SC). So, the offer to push VER to P3 was a fine one.

      The race in Abu Dhabi — it looks like FIA and F1 organization just thinks that everyone should just accept officials not following the rulebook; or interpret it in any way they want and just saying that they will do a full investigation without admission of any wrongdoing is just baffling.

      There’s really no humility even when getting out. I would prefer Todt simply said: “I wish this is not how my last race as the FIA president ended.”

      As Mark Twain said, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”. Similarly, as Fans, out support is with the sport all the time, and with the officials when they deserve it.

      1. Spot on.

        Up until Sunday, I would have agreed with him. The behaviour of both Mercedes and Red Bull have been shocking all season. There have been mistakes, inconsistencies, bad calls and confusion. It’s been a bit messy, but I always thought they were trying their best to keep the sporting integrity of F1, and the way the teams have railed against him and the stewards was appalling.

        But to come out with this straight after Mercedes have dropped an appeal against a clear cut case of the race director ignoring the rules written clearly, against what he himself said last year he had no choice but to follow, simply adds weight to any thoughts that all this is going to be whitewashed and they are not going to do anything to improve. Just like the FIA statement yesterday, it is remarkably insensitive at best to be saying this.

        I see this as yet another sign that F1 is heading down the toilet, if it’s not already traversing the sewer. I’m appalled!

    6. Me thinks the FIA Should get its own house in order before criticising others

    7. Poor Toto Wolf =^^=
      2 backfires in 4 days :p

      i’m dead =^^=
      Nice one, Jean Todt :)

      And sincerly, about Toto Wolff or Horner, i do some agree with him .
      Talking with official is not “lobbying” or “blackmailing” them.

      From both team, it has gone too far.

      The funny thing is that Jean Todt saying it, he was one going often to the stewards.
      But this time, i do agree with him.

      I think Toto was off the line on sunday.

      1. Toto Wolff keeps reminding Masi to follow proper steps and not manipulate stuff.
        Horner is like that guy that sits on your shoulder encouraging you to jump the fence.

    8. What else teams can do when a FIA farce happens? Pay money and send flowers to Masi? Apparently, Red Bull did just that and that’s why Max was allowed to receive a gift – the title.

      1. Man you really need to take a deep breath and realize the season was longer than the last lap. Have you watched any other races maybe? Doesn’t seem like it. There was no conspiracy, just bad luck, of which Max had a lot more than Lewis this year.

        1. Yes, I saw how Max breaktested Lewis in Saudi Arabia and other races. I have seen all cheating examples of Max and FIA.

        2. There was no conspiracy, just bad luck

          I agree that there was no conspiracy, at least not to crown one driver or another. But to call an official knowingly breaking the rules “bad luck” is BS.

      2. say them Hi, or call someone a rougue RD maybe? FIA needs strong reforms in my opinion. They killed the sports and built a laughable soap opera.

    9. Hamilton should have changed tires during the safety-car. Red Bull took the risk and won. That’s what went wrong for Mercedes.

      1. One day you will understand

        1. He simply is a bit faster then you…

      2. With hindsight, if the team had known Masi was going to ignore the rules completely and things were going to pan or as they did, maybe they should. But at the time there was every chance of that there would be no choice but to finish under the safety car, and if that happened then having pitted earlier would have been throwing the title away.

        Put simply, Red Bull had nothing to lose, and they took advantage of a clear opportunity which the situation didn’t leave available to Mercedes. Had the rules all been followed, lapped cars had been able to get through earlier and the race restarted, it would have just been pure bad luck when Hamilton was inevitably overtaken, but still a sensible strategy call from Mercedes when the call was made.

        That’s not what happened, though…

        1. But at the time there was every chance of that there would be no choice but to finish under the safety car, and if that happened then having pitted earlier would have been throwing the title away.

          At last… you get it. They gambled and lost.

          1. They took the safest option, and lost when the officials ignored the rules.

            Had the officials followed the rules and they had lost out, there would be validity in what you were saying.

            1. And let’s not forget, with all the lapped cars cleared, Sainz could theoretically have attacked Verstappen– and it’s more difficult to pass when someone’s chasing you.

        2. Mercedes knew what Masi was going to do depending on who was ahead.
          Masi’s first opportunity was Giovenassi’s stop on track and Toto reminded him he didn’t need to bring out the safety car after the VSC.

      3. This is exactly why the race was a farce. Ricciardo took the same approach as Max. Pit for fresh tires and race to the end for the points. Masi left him out of position whilst the drivers he was racing were let go.

        1. Thank you. Somehow some people still don’t see this.

      4. Actually, based on the state of the track and the race, Mercedes made exactly the right call to keep Lewis out– Because had the race director followed the actual rules and regulations governing F1, Hamilton would have won the race under the safety car.

    10. Respect is earned Mr.Todt, not demanded.

      1. Respect can be bought too. Red Bull has enough money.

        1. Thats what Mercedes thought only to be caught out at the last race. Well, they did get their better tires, wings, pitstops and convenient red flags. So it wasnt all wasted. Biggest cry babies in sports history

          1. Biggest cry babies in sports history

            Given the comments of Max and Horner throughout the season, I think there would be some debate over where that title went.

    11. I don’t think that Masi or the stewards are biased. But being impartial is only a minimum requirement for any referee. I don’t think anyone has ever said in soccer that “he is a very good referee, because he is so impartial”.

      1. Former Fifa officials Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been charged with fraud and other offences…
        So, Jean Todt made a correct comparison of FIA and football.

      2. I think Masi knew what he was doing.
        He wanted Max to win and saw the opportunity and handed him the championship. He is fraud and should be investigated.

      3. The stewards made a biased decision, based on a poor interpretation of the rulebook.

        Masi made a foolish decision, based on wanting to be the “cool” race director who’s willing to ignore his own precedent.

    12. So each driver who said what the ? is going on, this is crazy, on the last lap will be sanctioned. And anyone not showing sufficient fealty to the governing body will be guilty of thoughtcrime unless they can prove otherwise?
      Didn’t he try this last season? Might work against the new breed but I doubt whether Ham, Seb or Alonso will play along.
      Maybe the FIA could bring together the RD, Stewards and all race officials together under one umbrella and call it the FIA Department of Truth?

    13. Not a good start to this inquiry imo. Obviously there are some times where criticising the officials can get out of hand, but last weekend shows it’s the officiating that needs to improve.

      Nonetheless, I think Todt’s been quite a good President and it’ll be sad to see him go. Definitely reintroduced a bit of normality and calmness after Mosley and Ballestre

    14. All of what Todt is saying would be fine, if these guys did not come out and say openly that they would like to see Michael Schumacher’s legacy be preserved! That’s what’s wrong with all of these.. so, you open yourself for being manipulative.

      If like any normal person would have said, “I have been with Michael when this record was set. So, I really want this to be preserved. But, if someone is good enough to break it, he certainly deserves it. Even as Michael said, records are meant to be broken.” But, that’s not what anyone said right? Todt, Bernie, and even allegedly Masi (I would really like a source for Masi if he even said that).