Another failure from Jean Todt and the FIA

Jawad Yaqub Roar Guru

By Jawad Yaqub, Jawad Yaqub is a Roar Guru

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    Sebastian Vettel signs autographs for Ferrari fans at the Formula One Grand Prix in Austria. (GEPA Pictures/Red Bull Content Pool).

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    There has been much dismay over the decision to not take further action against Sebastian Vettel for his swipe on Lewis Hamilton during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as the FIA dismissed the case entirely.

    A mere apology saw the four-time world champion escape any sanction and while many will continue to debate that Vettel deserves greater punishment, this scenario has transcended beyond the Baku misdemeanour all together – becoming a matter of questioning the very governance of Formula One.

    Once again, the governing body of Formula One has appeared toothless, failing to exercise any of its power to draw a line between headmaster and pupil.

    Arguable is the position of the FIA as the true governors of Formula One, with insignificant impact being made on a sporting front across the twin-terms of incumbent president Jean Todt.

    The former team manager of Ferrari, who came into power in 2009 following the acrimonious demise of the frivolous Max Mosley, has largely spent his time in the top job as a doyen for road safety.

    With dreams of one day being the envoy of road safety to the United Nations, Todt has dedicated both his terms to increasing the awareness for global safety on roads, using motorsport as a medium to communicate a universal message – and he has succeeded in that for the most part.

    Though while promoting road safety is a crucial mission and the behaviour displayed by Vettel in Baku was very much anti-that, Todt and the FIA have somewhat forgotten that Formula One is a sport and with any world sport – the rulers need to rule with iron fists.

    As maligned as the Frenchman’s predecessor was, as well as the dictator-like Jean-Marie Balestre before Mosley, they both were definitive in their decision making and were not afraid to make examples of drivers and teams, if they out of line with the regulations of the governing body.

    Need it not matter, the divine presence of whatever driver, as the former presidents had famously and quite bombastically made examples of the legendary duo of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, in separate incidents without hesitation.

    Had Vettel told race director Charlie Whiting to ‘f#ck off’ as he did in Mexico last year, Balestre would have paraded the German au naturel through the streets of Paris – or something of that ilk.

    In the end, Formula One is a sport and the pinnacle of motorsport at that, and while the drivers should be allowed to compete at a fierce level – a line must be drawn in the sand to keep these identities in check.

    Todt’s FIA, in not definitively laying down the law immediately following the incident in Baku, has once again demonstrated that they are unfit to govern Formula One. This speaks directly to Todt himself, who in an election year has decided to stand for a third term.

    Should the Frenchman be re-elected, there ought to be grave concerns over the presence of the FIA altogether and its position as administrators of automotive racing. In that case, the leadership should just be thrown to the sport’s individual commercial parties and let Todt jump on his springboard to the UN stars.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • July 5th 2017 @ 3:44pm
      Cento said | July 5th 2017 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

      Interesting story however yours (and my own) opinion as to what additional penalties should or should not have applied doesn’t matter one iota. In the end the FIA made a decision and had they decided to add further penalties on Vettel you can be sure that there would be an article somewhere lambasting the FIA for doing so. How many times have ruling bodies, whether the FIA, CAMS, Supercars, AFL, NRL etc, made decisions that haven’t been agreed with, whether too severe or not severe enough. As sure as the sun comes up everyday this scenario will be revisited in the future and the story will be the same.

      It’s done, it’s over, move on.

      • Roar Guru

        July 6th 2017 @ 7:07pm
        Jawad Yaqub said | July 6th 2017 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

        Thanks for the feedback mate.

        I’m not too bothered that Vettel didn’t recieve any further penalty, its more so the fact that despite making their decision during the race, it seems that the FIA were pressured into having a meeting to discuss it again. That sort of second guessing with decisions is what the problem is and the argument regarding having a permanent stewarding panel also comes into it.

        The FIA don’t seem to fussed to sit back and watch F1 from afar and that was feeling you got when CVC and Bernie were still in control of the commercial rights. With Liberty now, one hopes for more cohesion between the two and more definitive decision making.

    • Roar Guru

      July 5th 2017 @ 8:53pm
      Bayden Westerweller said | July 5th 2017 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

      It reeks of wanting to maintain harmony and continuing this transparent, background approach which has been adopted under Todt’s incumbency. It doesn’t help that the outcome absolves his previous employer, yet it was unsurprising regardless, as the Frenchman seems to be content with his words having more effect than his actions.

      • Roar Guru

        July 6th 2017 @ 7:08pm
        Jawad Yaqub said | July 6th 2017 @ 7:08pm | ! Report

        Sometimes there aren’t even words from Todt himself. He’s had two tenures now as Le President and that ought to be enough. Enter someone else!

    • July 5th 2017 @ 8:58pm
      Will watts said | July 5th 2017 @ 8:58pm | ! Report

      I live in the uk,and I cannot afford to go to any races in F1 but I do watch it and follow it,,as a driver in the uk if you drive like Sebastian did into Lewis you would get points on your licence but to ram into another driver regardless if it was hard or soft he Still Did the action as we could all see,,on a normal road with a normal driving licence if we did that we would have a ban and a fine and that’s just on a normal car road sticking to speed limits but to do what Sebastian did should at least warrant a ban for a least 2 races and take his licence from him.Ferrarri will still survive withoutVettal fora couple of rounds but to be leanient becauseits Ferrarri is stupid,,what are these rule makers looking at when a driver commits a crime as that’s what it was and really does give the wrong image of the sport

      • Roar Guru

        July 6th 2017 @ 7:12pm
        Jawad Yaqub said | July 6th 2017 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

        Thanks for weighing in Will.

        What you say in regards to ‘what these rule makers are looking for when a driver commits a crime,’ pretty much supports the argument of installing a permanent panel of stewards at each race, which currently isn’t the case. This would see more consistent penalties, as well as viewers also having a more clear idea of what warrants a penalty and what doesn’t. I’m sure Liberty Media and their sporting director in Ross Brawn will be working on this for the future and hopefully in tandem with the FIA.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 6th 2017 @ 8:30pm
        Chancho said | July 6th 2017 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

        oh come on now! Are you serious? You cannot compare rules on the road to an F1 race.

        Check out twitter – Karun Chandhook, Derek Warrick (a race steward by the way) and Martin Brundell all agree that a decision was made so lets move on, but moreover ‘in their day’ worse happened put there.

        Was Seb acting a goose in his reaction? Definitely! Does he deserve a for it? No

        I want to see wheel to wheel racing, and passion and drama on the track! I am not unique in wanting this. Will we have more passion and drama at the next race and for the rest of the season? More than likely.

    • July 12th 2017 @ 2:41am
      Tyler said | July 12th 2017 @ 2:41am | ! Report

      The only dismay is from the British media upset that the FIA didn’t step in to help Lewis Hamilton in the Championship. The rest of us don’t want to see the best championship in years ruined by a heavy handed FIA over reacting to little wheel banging at 50km/h. Yes what Vettel did was wrong. Yes he got the appropriate penalty. It’s not Vettel’s fault Hamilton’s head rest came loose. It would have been a disgrace to ban the championship leader for a race over something as piddly as that. I know Lewis Hamilton is your favorite but get ahold of yourselves.

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