• Bahrain Grand Prix

Todt breaks cover to defend FIA decision

ESPNF1 Staff
June 7, 2011 « Ecclestone makes Bahrain U-turn | »

Jean Todt, the FIA president, finally broke cover to address the issue of the Bahrain Grand Prix, insisting everything was normal in Bahrain and defending the decision to reinstate the race.

Within hours, his comments were contradicted by Bernie Ecclestone who said: "We listened to that report from the FIA and that was saying there were no problems at all in Bahrain. But that is not what I am hearing and I think we can see that we need to be careful."

Todt leant heavily on the report submitted to the FIA which stated everything was back to normal in Bahrain. That was heavily criticised by human rights groups who claimed that only official bodies had been consulted and that continuing abuses had been ignored.

"I can only tell you the information I get," Todt said. "What is true in UK is not true in France or in Italy. Remember when Bin Laden was killed? Big story here. Two weeks later it was all Strauss-Kahn. Things keep moving."

When asked if he believed reports of incidents coming from Bahrain, he said: "The information I have is that the situation is settled in Bahrain. Yesterday I heard someone spoke about a girl that got killed. It is not true."

Todt also denied money had played a part in the decision. "For me this is not a proper allegation. "Bernie has more of a headache to organise it and make some money rather than not to organise it and not get some money."

But Todt was unable to go into details of the vote, saying he was not sure if it was unanimous. "I couldn't say precisely," he said. "Was it 25 hands? 27? I saw all the hands up and said, 'Ah, unanimous agreement'. I pronounced it. And nobody objected. No one said 'I abstained' or 'I voted no'."