Is Bernie toying with Todt?

Author

admin

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Is Bernie toying with Todt?

The Bahrain Grand Prix saga has left us questioning the balance of power between Jean Todt, Bernie Ecclestone and the teams, represented by FOTA — and the FIA president certainly seems to have come off worst.

Todt has close links to Bahrain and wanted the race to happen. Shaikh Abdullah, the second son of the King of Bahrain, was a key ally during his election campaign. Todt subsequently made him head of the CIK, the karting commission, which gives him a seat on the World Motor Sport Council.

It’s Ecclestone’s job to set the calendar, which is then formalised by the WMSC, of which he is a member. Since the postponement of the original Bahrain date he had been lobbying to squeeze the race back onto the schedule and proposed switching the inaugural Indian GP from October 30 to December 11, putting Bahrain into the former slot.

The teams told him that was impossible. In addition to obvious concerns about human rights and safety issues in Bahrain, extending the season wouldn’t work for logistical reasons. In Monaco Ecclestone apparently assured them that he would express their views at the WMSC.

But when the calendar came up for discussion at the Barcelona meeting Bernie kept quiet, to the surprise of team principals and fellow WMSC members Stefano Domenicali and Vijay Mallya. With Shaikh Abdullah in the room it was an awkward situation, and before they knew it, the decision to change the calendar had been rubber-stamped. FOTA’s Martin Whitmarsh has studied a transcript: “A show of hands for and against was requested, and after an apparent verbal silence Jean says, ‘So it’s unanimous then?’ and

no one said, ‘No, it isn’t.’ I don’t have a video, I only have a transcript. In fairness to Jean, he asked and he got a unanimous judgement.”

Just days later, after a strong reaction against the race from the public, politicians and human rights activists — plus further discussions with the team bosses — Ecclestone told the media the race couldn’t happen. He backed the teams when they sent a letter stating their views to the FIA, Bahrain and Bernie himself.

Max Mosley appeared on the BBC, criticising the decision and citing the obscure Article 66 of the International Sporting Code as the reason why the calendar could not be changed.

Todt was forced into a U-turn and the Bahrainis were allowed to save face by issuing a statement withdrawing the GP. The Frenchman said that the teams have no say in the calendar and that it is up to Ecclestone to sort out any problems before presenting it to the WMSC.

The ETA’s press statements, constructed with good legal advice, suggest Todt played it by the book. But during the crisis he appears to have lost control, and many observers feel he has been left weakened. The teams, which behaved with surprising cohesion, appear stronger.

Clearly there is a bigger picture here, with one senior Fl person saying Ecclestone had “led Todt into a trap”, leaving him to appear responsible for the PR disaster the sport faced.

“A lot of different people used that situation for different private agendas,” says Domenicali. “And that was not really good for Fl.” Exactly why Ecclestone played this game with Todt is unclear. There are a lot of issues on the table right now — the 2013 rules, the future Concorde Agreement —and it will be fascinating to see how it all unfolds. Adam Cooper

You may also like

Related products