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Todt plans to change how FIA manages F1
Todt plans to change how FIA manages F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Aug 2009   |  5:08 pm GMT  |  29 comments

Jean Todt and Team, the catchily named management group assembled by Jean Todt for his run at the FIA presidency in October, has just issued a policy document outlining changes it would make to the way the FIA does things.
Picture 6

The most striking thing is that Todt wants to distance himself from direct involvement in Formula 1, by the introduction of a Commissioner for each of the FIA’s world championships. This commissioner would take care of the day to day management of the championship, liaise with the commercial rights holder and teams and sit on the world council.

Max Mosley also said that he would not be an ever present in F1 when he took over from the ever present Jean Marie Balestre in 1990, but latterly his hands were very firmly on the F1 tiller.

However Todt’s proposals for F1 seem quite sensible, with a Disciplinary panel replacing the World Motor Sports Council when it comes to hearings like the McLaren Spy case or the Hamilton lying to the Stewards case.

The World Council would continue to meet to vote through major changes, but even there Todt’s team proposes to conduct a root and branch review of the effectiveness, transparency and efficiency of all the FIA’s committees and Councils. As always the devil will be in the details, such as the make up and independence of the Disciplinary Panel and the Appeal Court.

Without criticising the current regime he says that “public and competitor confidence in the stewards is vital” and proposes to review the stewarding system and to establish training courses for people wishing to become stewards.

Todt also wants to drive costs down in motorsport generally and suggests making it cheaper for organisers to host races, promising a “review of the structure of calendar fees”. If that means what it appears to mean it will be very interesting to see how that plays out in F1.

The document is careful to push all the right buttons with FIA constituents and to calm some concerns particularly among F1 teams and promoters. It wants the FIA to display “greater transparency and communication” and says that “the FIA must continue to adapt and change”. There is a need to “reform our organisation and improve the governance system.”

Todt sums up his approach to his candidacy thus, “Above all we need team work and co-operation. The FIA is a highly complex organisation combining roles as both the world’s motor sport governing body and global mobility alliance. To realise its full potential it is clear to us that the FIA must work together as a team, with its leadership and World Councils collaborating closely with its secretariat, its global club membership and its sister organisations.”

It is widely seen in F1 circles as a certainty that Todt will win in October. In Budapest last week everyone was agreed that Ari Vatenen had played a bad hand and was being totally out-thought and outclassed by Todt and his team.

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Who knows what connections Todt still has at Ferrari? I am extremely sceptical about an ex-Ferrari boss running the FIA. I know the FIA don’t just do F1, but it’s clearly their blue ribbon event and you’ve got to think Todt’s attention will be focused on that.

I know Mosley has his faults, but on the outside, he’s smart, clean cut and presentable. So is Vatenen. Typical politician material and what you need when represeting a powerful organisation. Todt on the other hand isn’t. To me he resembles Gwildor from the Masters Of The Universe film from 1987. Short, ugly and badly dressed. He belongs in overalls with a pair of headphones round his neck. I think FIA presidency is out of his league….



Assuming you’re serious? We’re selecting for this important role on appearances now? Come on. Short memories abound about Max’s not so presentable private life… it seems this particular political appointment is not subject to the same sensitivites as most.

Whilst I respect Todt’s brain and his savvy approach to this campaign, I remain suspicious because I feel he represents more of the same ‘old boys club’ at the FIA… Let’s get real for a minute – the FIA might hide behind the fact that it also represents the Caravan Club of Latvia but everyone knows where the true focus lies – International motorsport is what pays for plush Parisian offices and god-knows how many Jollies for the membership – so how about a candidate who will represent the fans first, and base their entire manefesto on adapting the sport for the fan’s benefit?



Can you explain why Todt was so uncremoniously dumped, and so publicly, by Ferrari? There’s a story there that really should have surfaced by now. The much touted ‘conflict of personalities’ just doesn’t wash. All personalities in the sport are in conflict.

Ferrari would appear to be violently against Todt as president. Could this be because of his oft repeated, even on this forum, propensity to bear a grudge?

Go on, James, let the cat out of the bag. You must know.


Harveyeight is right James, you have mentioned the ill-feeling between Ferrari and Todt several times but you have not given us the real story behind it.

Ted the Mechanic

It seems Jean Todt has established a prickly reputation with the other F1 teams and also to some extent within Ferrari (I understand his departure from Ferrari was a bit acrimonius). However I don’t know exactly why things soured at Ferrari, if that is indeed the case?

We know that he is a very ordered, disciplined, detail person, obsessively neat and tidy, and no doubt very demanding of high standards from his underlings. He is a workaholic and he probably achieves most of the, no doubt, lofty goals that he sets himself.

Where does he sit in terms of emotional connection with the common man and the fan in the stand? We know he took great joy from Michael’s successes and exhibited his passion on the podium many times. But does he have the best interests of F1 at heart? Is he committed to improving the show and the stocks of the poor old teams who have been right royally screwed by the commercial rights holder for many a good year? I guess that is mostly what the teams are concerned about since he is apparently good mates with Max and Max’s preferred choice to succeed him. That and the fact that Jean’s personality would probably lend itself to a similar dictatorial, hardline attitude to negotiation and laying down the law.

However his proposals that you’ve outlined above are definitely a panacea to the well-earned fears that we have about him and his leadership style. I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt since it appears he probably is the shoe-in for the top job…

I’m sure you know the man and his recent history much better than I do James so I would be interested to know what you think about how he would likely conduct himself in that position?

Have you written anything recently that examines this?


I think I understand the general views of contributors to this blog – therefore, no doubt with everyones full backing, I hereby propose…… Commissioner Mosley!!


“In Budapest last week everyone was agreed that Ari Vatenen had played a bad hand and was being totally out-thought and outclassed by Todt and his team”

What is this? I am totally lost… who is “everyone”?

In fact I don’t understand at all how anyone outside of Ferrari in F1 circles could possibly be in Favor of JT for FIA president. Surely they can not possibly believe their interests will receive a genuinely equal level of consideration?


so u mean to say we should have someone who hasn’t had any links to F1 teams?

Even Max, who had a hand in March racing(albeit a failure) was unable to steer in right direction and was successful in alienating fans.

Get a grip.

Todt is an excellent professional. Ari is just a glorified speaker. JT anyday..


Todt is an excellent professional, yes, but is he trustworthy? Does he have good and fair aims and motives? Every successful thief and conman is an ‘excellent professional’.


Yeah details please…!


Jean Todt’s proposals seem to be well thought out and should add some much needed assurance to those with an interest in supporting F1 financially. In the modern world, at least the impression of transparency and independence is vital, something F1 has lacked for too long – as the squillion and one conspiracy theories of the last few years prove.

Interestingly, much of what Todt has said is not that far removed from Ari Vatanen’s sentiments as expressed at Silverstone, only with firm proposals and a team rather than just rhetoric (sorry, Ari).

On a wider scale, with the variety of increasing pressures on the motor car and motoring generally, it has to be entirely sensible for the FIA’s sporting interests to be contained at a lower level so that the highest echelons can hopefully represent the motorist in his time of need and work with the powers that be on acceptable solutions.


Todt never failed anywere. But, FIA is primarly political !!!

Looking forward to that, but I am sure he will be elected, he doesn’t play in the same league with vatanen.


What a shame. Todt’s a divisive figure, he apparently holds grudges (eg Alonso) – unprofessionalism(?), and he was still linked to conduct unbecoming (the collusion between Sauber driver Fontana and his own team at Europe 1997).

FIA’s in good hands.


“…This commissioner would take care of the day to day management of the championship…”

What if this commissioner for F1 is to be…Max Mosley…


Useless assumption, do you think someone who has managed a team in such a cohesive manner and given the results continuously will ever do a stupid thing. Wrong tangential argument.


Jean Todt has always been a very dynamic strategist …no doubt it will continue…


If Todt wants to be successful, F-1 needs to be reconized as a drivers championship. One can follow the series and know the race results tell us a different tale, it’s all in what car you drive on a given day. I hope we can return to the days when lead changes are frequent in each and every race.


Given the nature of the voting procedure, a manifesto is meaningless. This is hardly democracy at work.

Further, Todt might be well advised to steer well clear of the financial side of things. The EU Commission forbade Max/FiA from doing so the last time they looked into the arrangement and I can’t see FOM/CVC conceeding the point. Still, it makes a nice bit for the press to quote.

If CVC and FOTA stick together – yeah, questionable I know – the FiA can be rendered virtually redundant. But the incentive of money is a powerful one and if Todt does try and meddle in what doesn’t concern him or the FiA then it is back to the old days of yesterday. FOTA will look to allies it can trust, and they can trust CVC to do what is in its interest. So much better than the FiA of recent times.

But that said, who believes what any politician says before his election? You quite rightly quoted Mosley’s pronouncements and then show us that Todt beat you to it. Well, perhaps he got them at a bargain price. Used just the once then put away in a drawer and forgotten.

Still, to give Mosley his due, when he first started he did virtually nothing. He was a total success for that period. Perhaps Todt will do the same.

All we can hope for is a pleasant next race. Everything else is politics, politics and more politics.

By the way, is Todt trying to smile in the above picture? Very creepy.


Could you eloborate on Ari Vatanen’s ‘bad hand’? He seemed to be doing a good job to me- although I suppose it’s not people like me who count in this election, it’s the motorsport leaders from Botswana, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea and the rest.


I think this might have to do with his recent rant about the FIA and Todt


Firstly, putting an ex-Ferrari boss in charge of F1 is never going to remove the bias they already have. Second he [mod] can’t be trusted. Third Max likes him. Max the one we’ve grown to despise…LIKES HIM! Why give Max the satisfaction? Ari is hands down a better candidate for the position, he’s smart, skilled, and he’s not in anyone’s back pocket.

If Todt wins, it’ll be no better than Max.


Yes, can you expand on this James


Was it, ever, going to be anything different?

I really never understood the opposition to Todt, beyond it being muscle memory.

The man has been extraordinarily successful in all he’s taken his hand to. His management is defined by professionalism and cohesion.

Two characteristics the FIA and indeed F1 is crying out for.

He does what it takes to get things done. His people loved him, his opponents hated him. That’s not always a bad thing. And as his run for president shows, Todt is remarkably well organised with a coherent, cohesive and professional vision for the future of the FIA.

All Vatanen has going for him is … err, he’s not Jean Todt. Apart from that he has produced absolutely nothing in the way of a team, a vision for the future or indeed anything approaching support from any of the FIAs stakeholders.

Do F1 teams even support him?


Can JT really be trusted?

He brokered the ‘private deal’ between Ferrari and the FIA, a move that by its very nature is wholly underhanded and inherently unfair. Ferrari enjoyed a period of domination under this ‘private deal’ in which Berni says Ferrari received monetary and other ‘general’ help.

So one has to ask if Ferrari was winning because they were the best team, or were they winning via the ‘general’ help?


Why do Ferrari themselves object to JT becoming the FIA president? What do they know?

Vatenen comes into the FIA with a clean record, no old connections or history, he is a much safer choice by any standards or logic, surely?


Maybe Max can return as the F1 Commisioner…

Cridland [CridComment@gmail]

> everyone was agreed that Ari Vatenen

> had played a bad hand and was being

> totally out-thought and outclassed

Had no idea about this!

Details! Details!


Some comments that he made were probably best left unsaid. I think he’s a good guy, but I think he will have to be very wary of playing right in to Todt’s hands.

That said, I’ve looked through Todt’s manifesto and it looks pretty good to me.

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