Jean Todt’s visit to the Shanghai circuit on Saturday went almost completely unnoticed.
With the Bahrain controversy still the hottest topic in the F1 paddock, The Times correspondent Kevin Eason described the FIA president’s absolute public silence as he flew in and out of China as “peculiar”.
Todt “refused to answer questions or even acknowledge the presence of reporters”, revealed Eason, although the former Ferrari team boss “did meet team principals”.
One of them was Martin Whitmarsh, who leads the partly Bahrain-owned McLaren team.
He said no team used the opportunity of the meetings in Shanghai to call for the race’s cancellation.
“I don’t think there was much point in doing so,” said Whitmarsh.
The Telegraph, however, reported that a member of Williams’ catering team has had her contract terminated for not wanting to go to Bahrain next week on moral grounds.
The British team would not comment.
“Ultimately,” said Whitmarsh, “forget Bahrain — if anyone came to me and said ‘I don’t want to go to China’ then it is best not to go.
“You don’t go racing unless you are fully committed.”
Also commenting on Saturday was Felipe Massa, whose manager Nicolas Todt is the son of the elusive FIA president.
“Formula one has nothing to do with politics, or wars, or with anything (else), we are to do with sport.
“I think that whether or not a person is on one side of the politics or maybe a religion or whatever, we’re all doing sport, and that’s what we are going there (to Bahrain) do to,” he is quoted by the EFE news agency.