FIA President has told Italy’s La Stampa newspaper that team orders in Formula 1 will be “regulated” – rather than allowed completely – in future.
For their trouble, Ferrari was hit with a $100,000 fine and charged with bringing the sport into disrepute. An extraordinary hearing in the FIA Court of Appeal was unsuccessful in punishing Ferrari further for its alleged breach of the sporting regulations.
Describing Ferrari’s actions as “a provocation against the regulations”, Todt added: “Personally, I’m not against team orders, but I am against lying [about them].”
Describing covert team orders as a deception “of the audience and the media”, Todt said rather than trying to enforce a ban on them, it would be more practical to regulate their existence.
“Team orders have been banned since 2002, but I ask myself how many have been issued in a ‘soft’ way. The difference with that and what Ferrari did [in Germany] is that it was anything but soft,” he clarified.
“F1 is a team sport and each team will have responsibility for their behaviour. We will not tolerate lies or coded messages like ‘Save fuel’,” he continued.
Todt was himself at the centre of several team orders scandals during his time as Ferrari’s team principal, the most famous of them being Rubens Barrichello ceding a race win to Michael Schumacher at the final corner of the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix.
“I shouldn’t have had to say anything [to him over the radio],” he said. “We had agreed beforehand that if he (Barrichello) is in front after the pitstop, he was to let Schumacher pass without making a fuss.
“But he made me call him 50 times and he moved at the last corner – the audience booed, Schumacher gave him first place on the podium and Ferrari was fined $500,000 for violating [podium] protocol,” he added.
But does Todt regret the affair?
“With hindsight it could have been avoided. Schumacher would have won the championship anyway. But I would have regretted even more if we had lost the title by a couple of points.”
To read our thoughts on the team orders debate, click here. Post your comments on Todt’s suggestion below…
[Original images via AUTOSPORT]