FIA President Jean Todt Pledges To Hold Summit Meeting On F1's Future
Motorsports governing body FIA President Jean Todt has backed Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo's call for Formula 1 to "hold a summit meeting to discuss the future of the sport," according to AUTOSPORT. Di Montezemolo suggested in a letter to F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone last month that "key parties from the sport should be brought together to try to work on ways to improve." Todt said that he "planned to do just that, and hoped to act on the best proposals that came out of the meeting." Todt: "I'll call around a table sponsors, journalists, new media, organizers, current and past racing drivers, and the constructors. I will welcome the most interesting proposals." Although F1 has faced "major criticisms this year -- especially from Ecclestone and di Montezemolo -- Todt does not believe that the sport is facing as big a crisis as some have suggested under the new rules." Todt said, "Hybrid is the right way, but we haven't been able to communicate it well. But the future of motoring goes in this direction." Todt also believed that "falling television audiences did not automatically mean that F1 was getting things wrong." Todt: "These days there are other means of communications besides TV. Also, the public's mentality can change, as do interests in this society" (AUTOSPORT, 7/17). In Hong Kong, Unus Alladin reported China's "top racer," Ma Qinghua, believes his country will have to wait "a bit longer" to produce a Formula One driver, but said things were "moving ahead." Ma said, "Motor sport started in Europe about 150 years ago and I think Formula One has 10 years of history in China [with the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai]. The gap is quite clear" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 7/18).