Todt defends Ferrari

Ferrari's Jean Todt has claimed that he was not invited to the Saturday team principals' meeting from which dramatic cost-cutting measures desired by the other nine F1 teams have emerged (Click HERE for separate story)

Todt defends Ferrari

In a heated meeting on Friday, Williams co-owner Patrick Head, reportedly exasperated at the way the sport is managed, is believed to have stood up and told Todt that it is only Toyota and Ferrari that does not have budgetary concerns and that if something serious is not done to curb spending, then it is not just the likes of the small independent teams such as Minardi and Jordan which face going out of business.

The crux of the matter is that testing is seen as one of the key expenses running out of control and that there is a universal desire to curb it. Ferrari, however, has its own test track as well as Mugello at its disposal and is unwilling to accept testing limitations. Unofficially, it points out that it has chosen to invest in test facilities because it considered them to be important and that it does not go around telling Ron Dennis to pull down the new McLaren Technology Centre because it is too expensive.

When the team principals resumed their meeting on Saturday, Michael Schumacher had just crashed his Ferrari in free practice and, claims Paul Stoddart, the timing was such that it made things difficult for Todt.

This, however, was news to the Frenchman, who told autosport.com: "I have mechanics and engineers to sort that out," he said, "the truth is that I was not invited."

He added: "The document (released with the other nine teams as signatories) is missing so many things. They have not resolved the problems. They speak about the testing on Fridays, but is that with the same engine as the race weekend or is it with a different engine? Because, if it's with a different engine, then you don't resolve the problem of having one engine for 1400kms. You start back with an engine of 700kms again.

"I understand that you have some small teams who have some financial problems but it doesn't help them. Any I think you have to consider companies that are involved in F1. You can't just undervalue them and not consider companies like Bridgestone and Michelin. I think they should be involved. You need to respect them because they carry responsibility for the tyres and do thousands of kilometres and that is not addressed. I find it very strange, I must say."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis, meanwhile, explained that the latest initiative, unprecedented after a team principals' meeting, stems from a desire to highlight exactly where the obstruction to progress lies.

"This doesn't come from insecurity but purely a genuine emotion that I've taken tremendous criticism, not just this year but several years, for trying to highlight the true obstructions to change in Formula 1," he said. "Very often I'm accused of being an obstructive force when I'm trying to be constructive.

"I think this will demonstrate that in the vast majority of cases there are a significant number of teams who are prepared to embrace change. The team principals are often portrayed as a bunch of people who can't decide things and can't come to a common position. This is the only time when we are so upset with, again, coming up against a stone wall, that we decided we should just walk around it and see what can be done."

Dennis stressed, however, that he was not a motivating force behind it with Paul Stoddart taking the centre-stage role in Brazil.

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