Behind the scenes in F1 there are definite signs that the sport is moving into more tranquil waters under the stewardship of new FIA president Jean Todt.
Whatever one thought of Max Mosley, his predecessor in this exacting role, his was always going to be a tough act to follow for the Frenchman who was boss of the Ferrari F1 team for so many glorious years.
First signs are that Todt is proving to be clear-sighted and measured. He clearly appreciates the dilemma faced by the new teams in F1 as they face the singular challenge of getting up to a competitive speed, but by the same token he believes that the 107 per cent qualifying cut-off should be re-introduced to the sport in a bid to put competitors under a realistic degree of pressure which is commensurate with the status of the F1 business as a whole. In that respect there are surely few in the paddock who believe he is mistaken in his reasoning.
There is nothing like intense pressure to stimulate a competitor into raising the standard of its game and the starkness of being consigned to the list under the heading ‘DNQ’ is humiliating to the point where it challenges your very presence in the paddock.
The other thing one most applaud the governing body for is the initiative whereby retired F1 drivers will be drafted in as guest stewards during the course of the season. Alain Prost filled the role at Bahrain and we, amongst others, we will be seeing Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell acting in this crucial advisory capacity later in the year.
Wise hands giving a gentle touch to the tiller in potentially difficult situations will be a positive development indeed.