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Todt and Ferrari part company
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Todt and Ferrari part company
Posted By:   |  17 Mar 2009   |  5:49 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Jean Todt, who guided Ferrari’s F1 team to it’s greatest era of success, with 13 world championships in the period from 1999 to 2007, has stepped down from all his administrative roles at the company, Ferrari has just announced at a shareholders’ meeting.

“Todt has been one of the fundamental protagonists of the Ferrari story in the last 15 years, ” said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo. ” All these years together, the wins but also the difficult moments, have created a bond between Ferrari and Todt which will last for ever.”

Todt (63) arrived at Maranello in 1993 to revive the fortunes of a racing team which had lost its direction, its self respect and it’s ability to win races. It took him a while to turn the ship around, but by 1997, with the hiring of Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne, they were fighting for the world title. Three years in a row they cam up short, although they did clinch the 1999 constructors crown and then in 2000 came the breakthrough as Schumacher won the first drivers’ title for the Scuderia since 1979. Four more followed in an era of dominance. Todt oversaw a total of 98 wins for Ferrari.

Todt was quite a devisive figure in F1, proving the oil to Ron Dennis’ water. In 2006 he became general manager of the whole of Ferrari, including road cars and he stepped down as team principal at the end of 2007 after seeing Kimi Raikkonen carry on where Schumacher left off.

Todt’s ‘win at all costs mentality’ aligned with Schumacher’s and this led to some of the most controversial moments in recent F1 history, the ultimate being the decision to switch Barrichello and Schumacher so that the latter could win the Austrian Grand Prix of 2002, a move which led to a huge fine for Ferrari and the banning of team orders in F1.

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  1. DaveC says:

    Sounds to me like he’s setting himself up now for FIA Presidential bid

  2. Ali says:

    In Italy 2006 where Michael Schumacher announced his retirement, there were some rumours about Jean Todt and Luca di Montezemolo’s relations such that Montezemolo wanted Schumacher to resign at the end of 2006 in a bid to hire Raikkonen, while Todt wanted him to continue as Michael did want so.

    At the end of the race -which Schumi won- it was very clear that there was something between Schumacher and Montezemolo, thus Todt and Montezemolo. I dare to say that Schumi even pretended not to see Montezemolo who wanted to give a hug to Schumi. I think the bond between Todt (with Schumi) and Montezemolo started to weaken at that time. I feel that Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher left Ferrari with their hearts a little broken.

    Well, an era of a dream “scarlet” team has just been ended. Everthing that has a beginning -of course- should have an end but I don’t feel that it was the “right” end. I still miss Schumi and will miss. Todt? Yes, in a way.

    Bye Todt.

  3. PaulL says:

    I’m not an appreciator of win-at-all costs although I can appreciate that someone can be that deeply driven to win.

    As Martin Brundle pointed out F1 is to a certain extent about the “right characters” in the 07 ITV review and I’d agree with that. I’m ok for characters like Todt and Schu to choose what mentality they want to compete with.
    They only thing I disagree with is that when they do things that are agreed as unfair or unconsciounably selfish by a fair section of the F1 community, it should be understood and accepted that people will think/feel that way. I don’t like it when it’s put down to “wound up jealousy” or “tall-poppy haters”.
    Sportsman that believe others are out to cut them down because they’re the best, I believe put a lot of pressure on themself, yet if they simply accepted/validated that some people just won’t like the driving manners or individual sporting aspects they could experience more freedom about themself and wouldn’t have to take on such a load of people wanting them to lose because they’re “themself” and “the best”.

    One thing about Jean Todt, and I’d ask James for what he knows if he’ll respond, was there any possible truth in Noberto Fontana’s allegation from 2006 that Jean Todt issued a “strict order” to hold up Villeneuve in the 1997 championship decider?
    My own personal view, given things like Austria 2002 and Todt’s endorsement of Schumacher’s competitive manners seemingly all of the time, is that it’s definately plausible and possible.

  4. Peter says:

    I hope Todt comes in and saves F1 by becoming FIA President and get rid of that sick, bitter and twisted Max Mosely. He can take Bernie with him.

  5. Finn says:

    Todt saved the Ferrari team from outright mediocrity and the world of F1 should all be grateful for that.

    Makes it easier for Alonso to join the Ferrari family now.

  6. Alex B says:

    James, the way that you have written this post reminds me of a funeral eulogy – but then, I suppose this announcement really does mark the end of a certain era within F1, doesn’t it?!?

  7. David S says:

    My fear that this is a precursor to Todt finally declaring his ego as suitable for the FIA Presidency….for sure this would fit with his mentality….my hope is that fair play and good sense will prevail and he is prevented from doing so.
    Ex-team principles have no place at the head of the FIA table.

    I acknowledge the man’s achievements but you should judge a man’s character by HOW he achieved it.

    There are better role models for my 8 year old to learn from….

    Here’s wishing both Brawn GP drivers and the team the success they deserve…..and may they humble the mighty Scuderia by their achievements….

  8. Rob says:

    It still leaves me lost for words that people see anything odd about drivers using blocking tactics in F1 as somehow ünsportsman like, anyone who has driven or rode at any level of race, amateur or otherwise has seen these practices and probably used them as well. They are absolutely part of the art and skill ……….. why do we seem to expect F1 to be different … perhaps it is simply that at this rarified level these things make or brake careers and even more …?

    Shu, Senna, Prost they all had great abilities in this area I will always remember fondly watching Michael and Prost duel it out!

  9. manatcna says:

    Who cares?

  10. Williams4ever says:

    The timing of announcement is interesting, given that
    a) Michael Schumacher is not committing to renewing Ferrari Contract.
    b) Brawn GP winning the Winter Ch’ship.

    If I am Rubens B, My clock will tick faster than ever, next thing you know Jean T, and My friend Michael are on team Pitwall, screwing my race strategies…

  11. James Allen says:

    TO Flukie Lucas – not sure we will ever know the answer to that. P Sauber says definitely not.

  12. Richard S says:

    there is a barbed comment in there from di Montezemolo,

    “….have created a bond between Ferrari and Todt which will last for ever.”

    Meaning that Todt is not a suitable candidate fro the FIA presidency, or at least that’s what I (hope) think he means.

  13. ben says:

    Maybe he is just waiting for another manufacturer to go the way of Honda so he can step in and do a Brawn.

  14. Raelene says:

    The FIA is not just F1 … Like him or not, JT does have the experience – in both F1 and Rallying

  15. Aquatic Mammal says:

    Much as I agree with the Mosley sentiments, Todt, at best, would be as bad as mad Max. At worst? Not worth contemplating.

  16. Raelene says:

    Peter Sauber has said that a number of times.

    I guess people try to use that to divert attention from the the Williams/McLaren collusion in the same race and Ferrari fans use that collusion – to divert attention from the Michael Schumacher drive into JV
    ;) ;)

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