Jean Todt on Schumi return and F1 costs

Jean Todt

Dec.28 (GMM) Jean Todt has vowed to continue Max Mosley’s efforts to reduce costs in formula one. “F1 is too expensive,” the new FIA president said in an interview with France’s Le Figaro daily.

Jean Todt on the Abu Dhabi grid in November

“I am sad that Honda, BMW and Toyota have left, but when one spends enormous amounts of money without the desired results, it is inevitable.

“On the other hand, it is great that new teams are coming in,” said the 63-year-old, who until a few years ago was in charge of the Ferrari team.

Big-spending Ferrari, however, was locked in a bitter row and political battle with Mosley this year, over the former FIA president’s push for budget caps.

Todt agrees with the Briton that the cost measures subsequently introduced “are not sufficient” and blames the political conflict, but clarifies that he is opposed to the “strict limitations of budgets”.

Kimi Raikkonen jumps out of his ferrari cockpit after his KERS caught alight

“But if we want to sustain F1, we need a true awakening and fundamental decisions,” said Todt. “Automobile sport must adapt to its time.”

He also said it is regrettable that, due to an unanimous agreement of the FOTA alliance, KERS will not be seen in formula one in 2010.

“I have therefore decided to create a working group,” said Todt, explaining that former Ferrari engine boss Gilles Simon will lead the work on F1’s exploration of new technologies and the environment.

Michael Schumacher congratulates his former Ferrari boss and newly elected FIA President Jean Todt

Meanwhile F1’s governing body will be “on their toes” in 2010 to scupper renewed suggestions of bias towards Michael Schumacher who makes his comeback with Mercedes GP in 2010.

Damon Hill, the German driver’s fierce championship opponent of the mid 90s, told the BBC: “The suspicion was always that Michael got a little bit of favouritism from the FIA.”

Schumacher, to turn 41 on Sunday, retired from the grid at the end of 2006, and his then Ferrari boss Jean Todt is now the president of the FIA.

Todt has described his relationship with Schumacher as almost akin to father and son.

“I think the FIA are going to have to be on their toes to make sure that there is no suspicion of that (favouritism) in the coming season,” 1996 world champion Hill added.

Frenchman Todt, 63, was asked about Schumacher’s decision to return to F1 with Mercedes in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.

“He is part of my family, but it would be inappropriate for me to discuss his decisions,” he said. “I leave it to him to comment.”