Jean Todt’s FIA Chief of Staff responds to Inside Line open letter

Formula One World Championship

In the aftermath of the Australian Grand Prix fuel flow debacle, through Inside Line an open letter was written to FIA President Jean Todt (here>>>) to which we have received a reply.

We are pleasantly surprised that the FIA has engaged us in this as it shows an honest attempt by the governing body to reach out beyond the traditional Formula 1 media outlets and embrace the constantly growing alternative media which cover the sport. Here is the response in full:

Dear Mr Velasco,

I am contacting you with regard to your recent letter in which you shared with us your thoughts on the opening rounds of the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Jean Todt, the President of the FIA, would like to thank you for your letter and has also asked me to commend you on the passion with which you undoubtedly follow motor sport and Formula One in particular.

The 2014 season has brought with it myriad changes, from the introduction of technologically advanced 1.6 litre turbocharged, hybrid power units to new regulations designed to control fuel consumption and new design imperatives that have altered the appearance of the cars.

Throughout the history of motor sport, any period of change inevitably brings with it some level of controversy and lively debate among hardcore fans. The current period of change in F1 is no exception to this … and many of the alterations introduced to Formula One for 2014 and beyond have excited much discussion, often heated in nature.

From the appearance of the cars to the sound of the new power units and on to the style of racing that might be brought about by the new rules, it is clear that many fans are concerned by the depth of the changes being implemented.

I would, nevertheless, like to remind you of the reasoning behind these developments.

The foremost discipline of single-seater motor sport must remain at the forefront of technological innovation and as the world comes to terms with the reality of shrinking resources, innovation in automotive engineering is increasingly directed towards conservation. Formula One cannot continue to ignore this imperative.

To do so would marginalise the sport we love and remove it from purview of automotive manufacturers, whose engineering goals are firmly focused on sustainability. The new power units we have introduced are a response to this challenge and each of the manufacturers currently involved in F1 has responded to this challenge magnificently.

It is also true that the new power unit regulations have resulted in the return of one major manufacturer to the sport, an eventuality that would have been unlikely had we persisted with the previous engine technology.

Likewise, the rules governing fuel consumption serve to highlight the exceptional performance of these new power units, which are capable of reaching speeds equivalent to, or even superior to those achieved under the previous formula. That they deliver this power while burning 35% less fuel than the old powerplants is, I think you’ll agree, a remarkable achievement.

The sound of the new cars has resulted in great debate and naturally this has been noted by all those concerned with F1 regulation. As revealed at the most recent meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, studies are now underway to examine the issue.

Regarding the question of the external aspect of the cars, the teams have liberally interpreted the regulatory modification that was motivated by safety concerns and the regulation governing this is set to be reviewed for 2015.

Only three races have been held since the introduction of these changes. Time will allow the teams to gain a better understanding of them, and will enable aficionados of the sport to get used to these developments. In this regard I would point to the recent race in Bahrain as evidence of this.

Just the third round of the championship this was one of the most hotly contested grands prix of recent years and served to confirm the fact that the spectacle and sporting interest of Formula One has not been diminished, but is in fact as compelling as it ever has been.

I hope that these clarifications will reassure you, and I hope that your passion for Formula One will be in no way lessened by this new 2014 Championship.

Yours sincerely.

Xavier Malenfer

Chef de cabinet du Président