Todt in favour of 107 per cent rule

FIA president Jean Todt says he is in favour of reintroducing the 107 per cent rule for Formula 1 qualifying

Todt in favour of 107 per cent rule

But the Frenchman admits it is very unlikely to happen this year, and believes the rules will probably make a return in 2011.

Until 2002, any driver whose fastest lap was outside 107 percent of the pole position time was not allowed to take part in the race except under extraordinary circumstances.

"We are very in favour of reintroducing the 107 percent limit," Todt told a news conference in Bahrain on Friday. "The reason why it was abandoned was because of the change in qualifying which was happening with fuel to start the race in the car.

"Now to change that for 2010 you need to have the unanimous agreement of the teams, and to get the unanimous agreement of the teams the FIA will be supporting this solution.

"I don't think it will happen so we have to wait until 2011 to introduce it."

Todt's comments come amid some concerns about the pace of the new teams racing this year.

HRT's Bruno Senna finished over 11 seconds off the pace in today's practice, where his team's car took to the track for the first time.

Heikki Kovalainen was the quickest of the newcomers in the Lotus, the Finn finishing 5.4 seconds off the pace set by Nico Rosberg in second practice.

Despite his desire to reintroduce the 107 percent rule, Todt made it clear that he was in favour of the new teams, and that they should be supported.

"You must have respect for a new team who is arriving in this particular economic crisis period and to invest money to be in F1," added Todt. "I don't think it is a time to criticise but to support and help, and to help them, and it is in the interests of everybody.

"Everybody in the business should be supportive of these days. I was impressed today, they did quite well and we must give them a certain time to be ready."

He added that he was disappointed that US F1 - the third new team to receive a 2010 entry in the original tender process last May - had failed to make the grid, but said he understood the team's founders had done all they could.

"The non-appearance of US F1 is definitely a disappointment," said Todt. "My colleague Nick Craw will not contradict that because he was very close to this team and we were probably hoping that the US F1 team would be at the start. It was possible.

"Yesterday during the WMSC I asked to review the situation and that started with the introduction of a disciplinary panel which was yesterday voted at the WMSC. So I reported to the WMSC and now Graham Stoker now, as president of the sport group, will have to report to the competent people, and we will see what happens.

"When I said it was very disappointing, because I know that they tried hard. They made a lot of effort, as you will know Charlie Whiting went there. He saw some possibilities, he saw some cars under construction but unfortunately it was not enough to have two cars at the start of the first grand prix."

Zoran Stefanovic's Stefan GP team had hoped to step into US F1's vacant slot, having acquired assets from Toyota's abandoned F1 programme, but Todt insisted the only fair option was to re-open the tender process for 2011 rather than handing the place to Stefan.

"Stefan Grand Prix was part of the tender process. It did not get an entry and I understand that during the last months they changed their way of thinking getting into F1," Todt said.

"They got involved with Toyota but we asked to follow the proper process and if you want to be involved when you have a free position in the F1 championship then you have to make a tender.

"That is what we are going to do in the coming days. We will open the 13th position and we will probably make the 14th position reserve, as well, available and it is a process that will start in the coming days.

"And then when we will take the results of who will be included in the 2011 championship then if [Stefan] are in this process then they will be considered, as will the other teams involved in this process."

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