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Formula 1 summit meeting will happen, pledges FIA chief Jean Todt

Jean Todt

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.

Di Montezemolo suggested in a letter to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone last month that key parties from the sport should be brought together to try to work on ways to improve.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Todt said that he planned to do just that, and hoped to act on the best proposals that came out of the meeting.

"I'll call around a table sponsors, journalists, new media, organisers, current and past racing drivers, and the constructors," said Todt. "I will welcome the most interesting proposals.

"I'm saying this as president of the FIA, without having to respond to Montezemolo, exactly because I have great respect for all the players in motor racing and in particular for what Ferrari has done, does, and will do."

TODT DISMISSES 'TAXI CAB RACING' CRITICS

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.

"Hybrid is the right way, but we haven't been able to communicate it well," he said. "But the future of motoring goes in this direction.

"Boredom? I don't see it, and most of all I don't see anyone lifting the throttle in the races in order to save fuel.

"In racing there has always been the search for maximum efficiency: the least fuel you put in the tank, the lighter is the car and the quicker you can go. Ten kilos of fuel are about four tenths per lap. Winners are always the strongest, those who can get closer to the limit.

"In my opinion motor racing is in good health: just think what Dietrich Mateschitz has done in Austria by rebuilding enthusiasm in people. And do we want to talk about the 24 Hours of Le Mans that attracted 263,000 spectators? A great race with Audi, Toyota, and Porsche."

Todt also believed that falling television audiences did not automatically mean that F1 was getting things wrong.

"These days there are other means of communications besides TV," he said. "Also, the public's mentality can change, as do interests in this society."

Di Montezemolo welcomed Todt's response, and called on Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One Management to get behind the summit idea as well.

"No one cares more about the future of Formula 1 than Ferrari, because it is at the core of our daily life," said di Montezemolo.

"We are pleased that the president of the FIA has welcomed our initiative and now FOM should do the same as soon as possible to work together in a constructive manner for the good of this amazing sport."

Translation provided by Michele Lostia

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