FIA president Jean Todt this week set out his agenda for a second term in office, with the launch of his new website Jean Todt and Team.
Todt’s challenge is to demonstrate what has been achieved in his four years at the helm of the FIA and to get the electorate, which comprises sporting and mobility clubs around the world, to consider him a safe pair of hands which is on a pathway of modernisation of the institution. Much of what has been achieved is outside the world of F1 and of the leading FIA championships.
The website says, “Jean Todt and his team drew up an ambitious set of goals – a Road Map to Renewal. Targeting efficiency, transparency and regeneration, this programme has rejuvenated the federation, forging an FIA that is progressive, inclusive and which operates according to the highest standards of good governance.
“With a first term now complete the desire of the Jean Todt and his team to continue the work begun in 2009 is unwavering… the road map has been fulfilled and significant milestones have been reached. But with more to be done the journey is far from over.”
Todt received an important vote of confidence from the leading team principals in a press conference in Monza. Team sources suggest that this was more because they are suspicious that Todt’s rival David Ward is backed by former president Max Mosley, rather than because they were impressed by Todt’s work in F1. There is great frustration that he did not stand up to Red Bull in particular on cost control last year, when 10 of the then 12 F1 teams were agreed on a proposal.
One notable achievement in the F1 arena has been the establishment of the International Tribunal, an independent tribunal for hearing sporting cases like the Mercedes/Pirelli test issue. Another is the successful negotiation of a new eight year deal with Bernie Ecclestone which gives the FIA vital income of $25 million per season from FOM and paves the way for a new Concorde Agreement, which will stabilise the sport until 2020,
“In negotiating a new Formula One Concorde Agreement, the implementation agreement of which is now in operation, the FIA has taken a major step towards a secure future based on a much improved position in motor sport’s flagship championship,” says the website. “The new Concorde Agreement sets out a stable operating relationship with the sport’s commercial rights holder and its participating teams until 2020, with an option to for extension.”
Todt’s website claims that “The FIA now has a governance structure acknowledged to be best practice. This has been confirmed by the federation gaining full membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and of SportAccord” But this is challenged by his presidential rival, who has several specific arguments which he believes illustrate that the governance structure is “not fit for purpose”. And this will be the key battle ground ahead of the election.
Ward has some serious support and some awkward questions he wants answering about governance ahead of the election. He has referred letters of support Todt received from clubs in South America earlier this year to the recently formed FIA Ethics Committee and it will be interesting to see what happens with that process as Ward points out that the Committee’s remit is simply to report its findings to the president.
The election will take place on December 6th in Paris.