FIA President Jean Todt says he is in favor of re-introducing the 107 percent rule for Formula 1 qualifying. Although the Frenchman admitted it is very unlikely to happen this year, he believes the rule 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 favor 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 (left) finished over 11 seconds off the pace in today's practice, where his HRT team's untested car took to the track for the first time. Heikki Kovalainen was the quickest of the newcomers in the Lotus, the Finn finishing 5.4sec 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 favor 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 criticize, 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 – [the new teams] did quite well and we must give them a certain time to be ready."