FIA president Jean Todt spoke today on a number of matters relating to Formula One, and it was the first time the former head of Scuderia Ferrari has really come forward and spoken publicly about the sport his federation governs. Since succeeding Max Mosley in last November’s election, Todt has remained relatively quiet, choosing instead to work on other matters concerned by the FIA. However, with the 2010 season getting underway in Bahrain this weekend, Todt has begun discussing the future of the sport and its rules and regulations.
One interesting point Todt spoke about was the possibility of re-introducing the 107% qualifying rule. This procedure was last introduced in 1996 as a way to weed out some of the sport’s lesser-funded and therefore under-performing teams and drivers. Essentially, the 107% rule dictates that any driver failing to qualify within 107% of the pole-sitter’s fastest lap would be excluded from participating in the race. Back in 1996, Forti often found themselves on the wrong side of the timing sheet.
The rule was scraped in 2003 as the qualifying process changed to a one-lap system and fewer teams were competing, meaning the limit of 20 cars each race implied most drivers attempting to take part should. For 2010 though, the sport sees more teams participating and if the first free practice sessions at Bahrain are anything to go by, some of these new squads are considerably off the pace of the front-runners.
Jean Todt has stated he is in favour of re-introducing the rule, although admits that if it is appended to the regulations, it won’t likely happen until 2011. In order to get the 107% rule in, the FIA would need unanimous agreement from all the teams, and that simply isn’t going to happen because Virgin Racing, Lotus and Hispania would have to block the move on a just in case reasoning.
We are very in favour of reintroducing the 107 percent limit. The reason why it was abandoned was because of the change in qualifying which was happening with fuel to start the race in the car.
Now to change that for 2010 you need to have the unanimous agreement of the teams, and to get the unanimous agreement of the teams the FIA will be supporting this solution.
I don’t think it will happen so we have to wait until 2011 to introduce it. Jean Todt.
Despite seemingly wanting to curb non-achievers in Formula One though, Todt was supportive of the new teams and offered his praise and support.
You must have respect for a new team who is arriving in this particular economic crisis period and to invest money to be in F1. I don’t think it is a time to criticise but to support and help, and to help them, and it is in the interests of everybody.
Everybody in the business should be supportive of these days. I was impressed today, they did quite well and we must give them a certain time to be ready. Jean Todt.
Looking at Nico Rosberg’s fastest lap of 1m55.409s in the second free practice this afternoon in Bahrain, 107% of this would be 2m03.488s. If this had been qualifying and the 107% rule had been in force, Hispania drivers Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok would undoubtedly be in trouble, while the Virgin Racing duo would be cutting it close.