FIA recently announced changes to the 2019 regulations, some of which were introduced to increase overtaking and improve racing. These included more fuel allowance and a complete redesign of the front wing. The changes however did not go down well with the drivers. After the conclusion of the Spanish Grand Prix, some F1 drivers had voiced their concerns openly. Vettel had said that the rule changes regarding the tyres for 2019 were ‘comical’. He added, “Not to say that we know everything, but we know how the cars feel. But we’re not really asked.” This didn’t go down well with the FIA president, Jean Todt.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo said that drivers’ opinions need to be heard while defending champion Lewis Hamilton went as far saying that drivers should be the one making the decisions.
Amid all the criticism, Jean Todt has responded to them publicly. He said to Focus magazine, “It’s up to them. Anyone who wants to speak with me, whether it’s a top driver or otherwise, can do it within 48 hours.” He also expressed his chagrin with the media, “I don’t want to now read the headline ‘Todt contradicts Vettel’, but that’s what you’ll do.”
It seems that Jean Todt’s annoyance forced his hand and he chose to make a public statement. A disagreement between people in the top echelons of any sport is not good for its reputation and there is no doubt that Todt would have liked to handle this internally, without involving the media.
The feud started when Hamilton was reportedly unhappy with the the track layout of the proposed Miami GP next year. Vettel also made his statement a few days after this, while Ricciardo admitted that Red Bull had been involved in the aerodynamic changes being discussed but he was not a part of it.