FIA boss Todt confirms qualifying crisis talks

Jean Todt, along with F1’s veteran commercial ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone and Pirelli’s motorsport chief Paul Hembery, will meet the 11 team bosses on Sunday to thrash out a solution to the problem created by the introduction of a new ‘progressive elimination’ this season.

FIA president Jean Todt speaks to the media on Saturday.   -  REUTERS

The president of motor sport’s ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), Jean Todt, confirmed on Saturday that he will meet the teams in a ‘final’ qualifying crisis meeting on Sunday.

Todt said he was confident the meeting would produce a unanimously approved solution to the problem created by the introduction of a new ‘progressive elimination’ this season. “Whatever we decide I am optimistic we will get unanimous agreement tomorrow,” said Todt.

He along with F1’s veteran commercial ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone and Pirelli’s motorsport chief Paul Hembery will meet the 11 team bosses to thrash out a solution.

Todt suggested that minor tweaks to the new system may be considered and he also said that it was possible that an extra set of tyres supplied only for Q3 would enliven the show. “Australia happened, and clearly it was a disappointment about Q3,” said Todt in reference to the season-opening race in Melbourne last month.

“Why was it a disappointment? Because for the first time in a long time, with three minutes to go, we had drivers climbing out of the car. So the immediate reaction was to speak to Charlie (Whiting, the official race director) over the phone and he suggested one of the problems with Q3 was that the drivers were missing a set of tyres.”

‘So I asked Charlie to speak to Pirelli and see if it would be possible to introduce, for Q3, one more set of super-soft tyres, which he did.’

The outcome was that Pirelli could only supply more tyres on demand for an extra cost and could not do so until the third or fourth race of the season.

No immediate decision was taken, Todt said, because the teams had agreed unanimously after qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix to ditch the new format and revert to the previous established one.