And it must be said that there is something: between the return of the double world champion Fernando Alonso after two years of absence and the debut of Mick Schumacher, the son of Michael, with Haas-Ferrari, the spectacle is already assured .
A calendar upset by the Covid …
But if Jean Todt is impatient to see the cars on the starting grid, it is also because the organization of the championship was very complicated by the coronavirus. “It has changed a lot of things for the planet and more particularly for Formula 1. Already, as in 2020, it was necessary to rearrange the calendar” taking into account the constraints to travel “, he indicates. the season begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix, and not the Melbourne Grand Prix, as is customary.
Apart from the Sakhir route, the entire first part of the season will be focused on Europe, the place of residence of several stables. After Bahrain, the drivers will compete in Italy, Portugal, Spain and Monaco, before leaving for Azerbaijan. A program which should make it possible to limit the risks of postponements or cancellations. But as a man of experience, Jean Todt does not rule out being confronted “with situations where [il] will have to show a lot of imagination and creativity “.
… and a budget ceiling
But the changes aren’t just about the timing. Important novelties are being put in place at the very heart of the stables, particularly in terms of their budget. Now each team will have to meet a budget cap of $ 145 million. A will of Jean Todt who judges that “Formula 1 is too expensive”. While three teams had a budget “significantly higher” than all the others, this restriction will increase over the next two years to reach 135 million dollars in 2023.
A way to put a little competition in a sport dominated for years by the Lewis Hamilton-Mercedes tandem? The first has accumulated six world championship titles since coming under the German banner in 2013 (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), while the German brand has won seven consecutive constructor titles, a record.
For Jean Todt, the budgetary restriction is not intended to undermine this monopoly. The leader recalls the eras of domination of Schumarer / Ferrari but also of Sebastian Vettel / Red Bull, to prove that competition is king in F1.
But if he argues that “domination is part of sport in general”, the former director of the Scuderia still hopes that with this budget restriction, “the cards will be redistributed a little.” Because the end of reign is often linked to changes in the regulations, he points out.
And Jean Todt is in a good position to know it, since in 2005 the FIA banned tire changes during races. A new regulation which intervenes after the seventh coronation of Michael Schumacher, in 2004, and which prejudiced a whole part of the pilots, of which the “Red Baron”, which gained only one victory that year …
Source site www.europe1.fr