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F1 has a headache not cancer, says Todt

Formula 1's current problems are a 'headache' rather than a 'cancer', claims FIA president Jean Todt.

F1 has a headache not cancer, says Todt
Pascal Wehrlein, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 Test Driver
Jolyon Palmer, Lotus F1 E23 Test and Reserve Driver
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 Team
Start: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team leads
Start: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team leads
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF15-T
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 and team mate Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 battle for the lead at the start of the race
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Roberto Merhi, Manor F1 Team
Roberto Merhi, Manor F1 Team leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06

On the back of mounting criticism about the state of the sport, Todt has insisted that the situation is far from the crisis that some are suggesting.

And that has left him convinced that a host of changes to the rules to make cars faster and harder to drive for 2017, which are due to be discussed by teams at a Strategy Group meeting in London on July 1, can help solve the few issues he believes need resolving.

"I don't think we are facing a cancer," said Todt in an interview at the FIA's headquarters in Paris.

"We are facing a headache. So we need to find a prescription for the headache.

"I disagree that we have to cure a cancer. And in a way, the headache is on the way to be cured.

"We don't need big changes. I don't think F1 needs big changes."

Engines right but 'too expensive'

One of the focuses of criticism of F1 is the current hybrid turbo engines which were introduced for 2014.

Todt remains convinced that the change of power unit was the right thing for F1, but he does accept that a mistake was made in not controlling costs for customer teams.

"I think the engine is a great evolution but too expensive," he said. "Here I take the responsibility of probably not having secured that it would be a maximum cost to the customers.

"It's something we are going to address. It's better late than never, but we are going to address the cost for the customers."

He also suggest that criticisms of 'lift and coast' instructions to drivers are the result of there being more radio communications broadcast now, but makes it clear that if teams want to be able to push harder he is open to allowing more fuel.

"Now everybody says: 'We don't like the racing because it's fuel consumption, it's brakes and it is tyres'" he said. "The first year I was the boss of a team in Formula 1 was 1993.

"I remember radio communication were different and not as developed because you didn't have access to radio communication, it was only from drivers to teams and teams to drivers.

"Then it was said 'Hmmm, we should give more information, let's give TVs free access to discussion'. So of course, clearly sometimes people need to interpret what is said. They don't want everybody to listen to the original version of what is said.

"But in 1993 we had the problem with brakes we had the problem with tyre wear and we had the problem of being careful with the fuel. So it's not something which has just come in

"But does it mean we should not consider it? If the answer was let's give 5kg more of fuel, I don't have any problem.

"But at the moment if you have some bitter drivers: 'Are you happy?' They will say no. That is the truth. If you have a sincere discussion, why is that guy not happy? It's because he's not winning.

"If you ask Hamilton if he's happy right now, he will not be happy. If you ask Rosberg if he's happy, he will be very happy. And vice versa at the previous race.

"But again, it is a fact of life, you are happy if you have success and you are not happy if you don't have success. Then we have the way of communicating and the way of hiding."

2017 changes a help

Todt has been involved in discussions with F1 stakeholders over recent weeks to try to frame new rules for 2017 that will help make the sport more exciting.

He would like some of these changes to be implemented as early as next year, but knows that to do so will require support from teams.

"If we would handle with a very good proposal that could be unanimously agreed then it is something that can be implemented in 2016.

"Otherwise, we have up to February 28, 2016, to implement the regulations for 2017.

"We have had and my people have had, and the teams have had, lengthy meetings where some new proposals, directions, shall be proposed next week – July 1 – in London in the meeting of the Strategy Group which will then, depending on the result, be taken to the F1 Commission."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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