Todt confirms teams can skip races without penalty

ESPNF1 Staff
February 9, 2010 « Sauber plays down Valencia test times | »
Jean Todt said Stefan GP's entry would be dependent on FIA approval © Sutton Images

FIA president Jean Todt has confirmed Bernie Ecclestone's recent revelation that Formula One teams may sit out three grand prix in 2010 without penalty.

Amid speculation that US F1 and Campos are struggling to get up and running ahead of next month's Bahrain season opener, Ecclestone said the teams were allowed to skip the opening races if necessary. In previous years teams would be hit with serious fines or face being chucked out of the sport if they missed a race, but Todt confirmed there was a provision for sitting out of rounds in 2010.

"In the last World Motor Sport Council the opportunity for a team to not participate in three rounds of the championship was granted, even if they are not consecutive" Todt told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Ecclestone is also pushing hard for Stefan GP to be first in the queue to race this year should one of the confirmed teams collapse. But Todt clarified the situation regarding new entrants: "If a team drops out of the championship, the insertion of a new team is not automatic. It is always up to the FIA to decide whether someone is eligible or not."

Todt also revealed that he will stand down at the end of his current term as FIA president and had no plans to emulate his predecessor Max Mosley's reign of 16 years. During that period he said he was hoping to continue to reduce costs, but by tweaking the regulations rather than introducing a budget cap that he believes could push F1 out of Europe.

"I'm against the budget cap, because in China for example they can do more with the same investments that you make in other parts of the world," he said. "Savings need to be made through the rules, like for example a single aerodynamic package for the whole year. Will it cause grip problems in Monaco? Even better, we will see the skill of the drivers. The future is tied to the new technologies: it's not acceptable to abandon KERS just because it's expensive, the teams need to work out a way to make it affordable."

He also said he is working to close the loophole in the rules that allowed Flavio Briatore to have his FIA imposed ban overturned.