Jean Todt says Ferrari's use of team orders in the German Grand Prix was too provocative for the FIA not to take action, but emphasized that he believes many other teams have employed similar tactics in more subtle ways since the rules banning team orders were introduced.
Ferrari was fined by the Hockenheim race stewards after Felipe Massa moved aside to allow teammate Fernando Alonso to take the race win. Although the team was summoned to appear before the FIA World Motor Sport Council, the council chose not to take any further action and announced that it would revisit the team orders regulations to see if they needed amending.
"Team orders are banned since 2002, however I've asked myself: how many times have orders been issued in a 'soft' way since then?" Todt told La Stampa. "The difference is that the one issued by Ferrari was everything but soft. It was a provocation against the regulations."
He suggested that the review of the rules would see the regulation modified rather than scrapped altogether.
"It will be controlled by regulations," Todt said. "F1 is a team sport, every team will take responsibility for their own behavior. Lies, or coded messages such as 'save fuel' will not be tolerated."
In another interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, the FIA president added: "The team orders rule must be changed in a way that avoids the hypocrisy of grotesque communications between pit and cars. I've asked the Sporting Working Group for a proposal, I hope it will come by Dec. 9, in time for the World Council in Monte Carlo."
Todt acknowledged that he had played a part in creating the team orders controversy during his time at Ferrari, when Rubens Barrichello famously pulled over within sight of the line at Zeltweg in 2002 to hand the win to teammate Michael Schumacher. Asked by La Stampa if he regretted that incident, Todt replied: "I do, because with hindsight it could have been avoided: Schumacher would have won the championship anyway. However, I would have had more regrets had I lost the title for a couple of points."
He felt Barrichello's handling of the situation had inflamed the problem.
"I shouldn't have needed to tell him anything," Todt said. "We had agreed earlier: 'if you're ahead after the pit stop, you must let Schumacher through with no fuss.' He agreed. Besides, a driver is paid to accept certain decisions. Instead, he would stay ahead. I called him 50 times and I repeated it clearly. He moved over at the last turn, the public whistled, Schumi gave him the top spot at the podium ceremony, and Ferrari was fined for infringing the protocol: 500,000 dollars."