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today is May 30, 2023

In the round-up: Former FIA president Jean Todt revealed the team principals of Red Bull and Mercedes lobbied him to intervene in the dispute over the outcome of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In brief

I told team bosses I couldn’t intervene – Todt

Todt stepped down as FIA president as planned three days after the infamous race at Yas Marina in which Max Verstappen won the world championship by overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the race after F1 race director Michael Masi broke the rules while arranging a last-lap restart.

Before Todt’s replacement by current president Mohamed Ben Sulayem, the FIA issued a statement claiming the ongoing row over the race was “tarnishing the image of the championship and the due celebration of the first drivers’ world championship title won by Max Verstappen” but promised a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future with all relevant parties.” This was concluded following Todt’s departure, and involved the removal of Masi as race director.

Jean Todt, Mohamed Bin Sulayem Ben Sulayem succeeded Todt as FIA president Todt was not present in Abu Dhabi for the final F1 race of his tenure as president but Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and his opposite number at Mercedes, Toto Wolff, both urged him to intervene. However Today told Corriere della Sera “I didn’t do anything, it’s not the role of the president of the FIA.”

He compared his position to that of Gianni Infantino, the head of football governing body FIFA. “Referees must be autonomous, have you ever heard Infantino say ‘Here there was a penalty, but not here?'”

“I watched the race in the country house together with the crew. They call me, Horner and Wolff, and I answered them: ‘I can’t interfere, it’s the responsibility of the marshals and the race director’.”

  • Abu Dhabi’s legacy: How the controversial 2021 finale changed F1

Aston Martin’s success partly thanks to Vettel – Krack

Sebastian Vettel deserves a measure of the credit for the progress Aston Martin has made with its car this season, says team principal Mike Krack. The four-times world champion retired at the end of last year and was replaced by Fernando Alonso.

Krack said Vettel “has his merits in where the car is today, because we had many, many meetings last year where he gave us a hint – ‘do this’ or ‘do that’ or ‘do not do this’ with the new car. So I think he has his merits in here.”

After finishing seventh in the world championship last year, Aston Martin are currently second in the standings. Asked whether it was a shame Vettel had retired just before their leap forward, Krack said: “We have to respect the decision that he took. He reflected for a long time before he made that decision and when he made it and if we have to move on, and he has to move on.

“If it’s a shame for him, yes or no, this I think you should ask him.”

Australian GP should have ended under VSC – Tost

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has joined the critics of the two-lap standing restart at the Australian Grand Prix, saying the race director should have used the Virtual Safety Car.

“The last red flag was unnecessary,” he told Sport1. “A Virtual Safety Car phase after Magnussen’s accident would have been enough. At the scene of the accident, the speed would have been reduced sufficiently.

“What’s more, there were only two laps to go. This would have saved the standing start and thus the accidents.”


Motor racing links of interest:

34th Indy 500 entry taking shape for Enerson (Racer)

'The 107th edition of the Indianapolis 500 is edging closer to making full use of its qualifying procedures.'

Leonardo Fornaroli's Melbourne weekend in his words (F3)

'From turn six to turn 10 is my favourite part. The circuit is really, really cool to drive, especially on the fast corners. The rear felt very light, so you have to push as hard as you can, but without over-pushing it because as soon as you lose the car you are in the wall.'

Herbert blind-sided by Sky Sports F1 axing and still in the dark over decision (The Mirror)

'I got a call in December, I think it was, when I was told things were changing. It wasn't explained why or what was changing. There was a mention of social media stuff and that was about it, really. I don't really know.'

Upside down on Thursday, pushing for top 10 on Friday (GB3)

"Yesterday we had a decent first session and then the second session was going pretty well and then I made a huge mistake. I actually flipped the car at a high speed corner so unfortunately we missed the last session of the day."

British Truck Racing Championship commits to more sustainable fuel for 2023 and beyond (Motorsport UK)

"Designed as a straightforward diesel replacement, the fuel is the least carbon-emitting diesel replacement fuel available in the UK, saving 2.82kg or 90% CO2e per litre. Gd+ can be used in existing diesel engines without upgrading machinery. Last year alone, GBF’s customers saved more than 480,000 metric tonnes of CO2e by switching to Gd+."

Australian GP 2023 carnage turn one grandstand (Andy L via YouTube)

F1 Melbourne 2023 Crowd throwing items at fence climbers (Darockk via YouTube)

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