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Is Jean Todt Preparing Himself For FIA Presidency?

Is Jean Todt Preparing Himself For FIA Presidency?

When Jean Todt announced he would be stepping down from the front line of the Ferrari Formula One team last year, I decided that there and then it had something to do with the impending change at the FIA. Todt had been mooted for the President’s role before, and with Max Mosley supposedly stepping down at the end of his current term next year, it would make sense for Todt to be out of the Ferrari limelight for a while.

Grandprix.com have an article up today suggesting a similar theory – apparently it’s doing the rounds in the Japanese paddock at the moment. They are suggesting that Jean Todt will resign from Ferrari altogether at the end of the month and take up a new role in the FIA soon after. Combined with the recent announcement that Marco Piccinini will stand down as the Deputy President in November, certain puzzle pieces seem to be falling a certain way.

However, there are many cats who could stir the pigeons, most notable of which is Mosley himself. Last year, Max had said that he intended to step down as president at the end of his term, but after everything that happened in April and May, it seems the ageing Briton has a new spring in his step and Mosley recently suggested he isn’t absolutely certain of what will happen in 2009. If Max were to stay though (and of course only at the urge of all these nameless people who write to him all the time), then it will likely be another four years before any change will happen. However, if Max were to be organising a way for him to get what he wants, then I can see Mosley stepping aside into a newly created position of power in the background.

Of course, the president is elected by the member organisations, but if only one man stands, and Mosley decides he doesn’t want to continue, then the vote is worthless. And currently, it seems to only be Todt who is being suggested as a possible successor. I had mooted a few other names previously, and Piccinini was one that kept constant in my mind. But with the Italian out of the picture and all others seemingly not bothering to show their hand, Mosley may be about to get his way. After all, Max has already offered his support to Todt should he wish to stand.

However, if Jean Todt were to become the next president of the FIA, then there will be an outcry from fans. Clearly the Frenchman has kept himself away from the media, toiling away in the background of the Ferrari company, but he will always be known as the man who helped orchestrate the rise in dominance of the Scuderia in the mid-nineties. And with Mosley himself feeling the need to defend the rumours that the FIA are biased towards the very same company, I can see the fans and team owners getting seriously annoyed.

Oliver White

10 comments

  • May the frenchman that I am give his thoughts on that 😉

    I know Jean Todt for more than 20 years, he was a sportsman and he becames a manager for Peugeot Sport (PTS). He is a very committed person and he knows how to put up an organisation and achieve a goal. This is what he was paid for, and he succeeded quite well leading Peugeot Sport to the Rallye titles and then moved to Ferrari. He did setup the proper strategy to win at Ferrari, and that was with one driver being the number one. Jean Todt is a straightforward man and he is very loyal. He used all the rules by the book to achieve his goals, and if he was to be elected at the FIA he will do exactly the same. Ferrari will have no benefit, not a single one.

    I am very proud, as a frenchman, of Jean Todt. He can be single minded and do everything he can to reach his goal, and he will!

    But my opinion is that Jean Todt is not interested in this job, Jean wants to enjoy life now…

  • Very good inside info on that one Ago. Indeed, Todt appears to be taking the same route as Flavio- retire and ride off into the sunset with those hot new spouses at their sides……

    Seriously, if Todt dose become FIA president, the credability of the orginisation and of F1 will be badly damaged. I honestly don’t know if a red car will ever again recieve a penalty, and the decisions made by the FIA on nearly anything related to F1 would be commented on more frequently than they even are now.

  • I’m half-expecting Piccinini to become President (with the resignation from the Deputy Presidency being partly a political ploy as well as whatever overt reasons he has) and for Todt to become Deputy President. Maybe Mosley thinks that by having him in power but not absolute power for a term, the FIA Senate members (who are the only people who count in his world) will get used to him and the objections from outside will cease to matter to the voters.

    Also, by nominating Piccinini as President, Mosley will still be able to influence things in the background (whether or not he takes another formal position). Todt can learn exactly how leadership works without taking too much of the responsibility, and they can arrange for how the triple will work in the Todt era at their own leisure.

  • Part of me thinks that Alan Donnelly might get involved in an official senior position somewhere, but I haven’t figured out where he’d fit in. Perhaps he would be a substitute if it turns out Piccinini or Todt can’t/won’t do what Mosley might like with regard to the plan. It’s still possible that either or both of their retirements is of the traditional variety and that neither intend to have any more formal power in this area of motorsport.

  • @Gman Michelle Yeoh is 46 and they’ve been together for many years. the italian show-off is no match for the french flair if you see what I mean ;-)….

    Seriously I don’t believe JT is going to be involved with the FIA whatsoever…

    The man has got other things to do in life, he doesn’t run 20 companies and a football club. He is a tough man and as I said he used all the rules by the book to win but he is not the person you think he is… Anyway future will tell.

    Alianora Mosley cannot nominate the president, remember these people ARE elected. Now you can challenge the election or who and how people get elected, but please don’t add confusion to it 😉

  • Ago, Mosley can nominate a candidate via the British representative of the FIA, just the same as any of the other 180-odd representatives of countries can. In fact, unless a candidate is nominated by one such representative, they cannot be elected at all.

    As you say, nomination does not equal election, but Max has proven time and again that where there’s a will there’s a way, and I doubt he’s figured that sort of failure into his contingency planning.

  • Alianora Ok that is like a vicious circle isn’t it?

    (1) WHO elects the british representative to the FIA? Is it Mosley? No it is the MSA! Why don’t you all guys join the MSA to change their vote!

    (2) 180 representative can name somebody to stand for the election, so -unlesss they are all friends of Mosley- they could be some other candidates!

    I am amazed that Mosley is always seen as “the devil” I believe it is a very comfortable way to ignore where the real problems are, because the next president will have exactly the same power… It is like the “Ferrari conspiracy”… I can see patterns here and yes sometimes the FIA seems to help Ferrari but:

    – Where was the FIA during the almost 20 years where Ferrari didn’t win anything?

    – Why did the FIA changed everything Ferrari and Schumi were good at during the past 10 years (V10, qualification format change and so many other things Want a complete list or your start to remember???…)

  • In theory, there could be 180-odd candidates, if each country’s representative picked a different one. So it’s not a completely vicious circle – it simply relies on someone being brave enough to risk Mosley’s wrath. You are correct in that, Ago.

    Joining the MSA, as far as I can tell, doesn’t give you any influence over its choices in and of itself. Unfortunately their website doesn’t tell you what exactly would be required (e.g. whether the representative is elected or appointed), and the FIA website’s not working.

  • As for the questions Ago asked, before December last year nobody in the FIA even admitted favouring Ferrari (and it was only then that I believed it) – my complaint against them is primarily on their incompetence rather than the bias. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, the FIA was basically doing its job correctly until 15 January 2003.

    It didn’t change everything because Ferrari won everything. It changed everything because spectators were unhappy and the FIA misidentified the cause. The spectators who were upset were upset mostly about Ferrari playing with the sport, not about it being dominant in the first place. Most of the people who the FIA thought were unhappy about the predictability were non-F1 watchers in the first place who simply only heard of F1 when Schumacher’s controversies hit the newspaper headlines and weren’t about to watch because the FIA changed a few things (due to their loyalty to whatever their favoured sport was). So instead of restricting itself to banning team orders (which would have fixed the problem just fine), it decided to make everything different to break up the predictability. It didn’t work, the FIA just messed about with the regulations even more to fix something that wasn’t really broken, leading to the present situation.

  • Alianora: there are 8 clubs (associations) in the UK that are member of the FIA including the RAC and the AA. You can -you maybe are already- member of one of these associations. They (the associations) must have a way (in their statutes) to nominate members to represent them in the FIA…. If you cannot be one of them you might talk, write to this people to undersrtand what are their plans if elected at the FIA. these people are surely elected by the associations… All this has to be verified but for sure these people do not elect themselves 😉

    It is a bit like in politics… if you want to be elected you have to join a party and then being inside push the person you want to be elected if you cannot/do no want to be elected yourself…

    The FIA, the MSA are not self-proclamed they have a democratic ground… One has to be curious sometimes… I know it’s much more easy to accuse “the bad guys” than to try to get at grips with the system… I have quite a long experience -in France- of these things and I know what I am talking about…

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