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Todt shows Vatanen what he’s up against
Todt shows Vatanen what he’s up against
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Aug 2009   |  2:40 pm GMT  |  12 comments

Another day, another confident, proactive statement from Jean Todt.

This one is a peach. Not 24 hours after his rival for the FIA presidency Ari Vatanen released his manifesto, Todt releases a statement saying how delighted he is with the response from the key FIA players around the world to his manifesto.
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He lists a series of tributes, saying how they are behind Todt all the way. There are some big names and clubs there. It’s a very strong message to Vatanen, who has been visiting the F1 paddock in recent weeks, that Todt has put the spade work in with the regions, as Max Mosley did when he beat Jean Marie Balestre to the presidency in 1990 and got them sewn up.

Here are a couple of examples. The full list reads like a Who’s Who of Motorsport movers and shakers. Vatanen needs a game changing move now or it looks like it might be all over.

Nicolas Deschaux, President, Fédération Française du Sport Automobile (France)

“There can be no better example of motor sporting achievement across such a diverse range of competition categories than that of Jean Todt. His passion for sport and his attention to detail in its pursuit are well known. Everything Jean has achieved, the broad range of his capability and the depth of his experience will be relevant to his Presidency of the FIA. As a French sportsman, Jean understands the character and needs of our sport in France, we look forward to working with him.”

Vijay Mallya, Chairman, Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (India)

“I have been impressed with the professionalism and commitment of Jean Todt and his election team. The considered approach to the development of their election policies and programmes has created a welcome new vision for the FIA and our sport. I am very pleased to join them and to make my contribution to the realisation of that vision.”

Mohamed ben Sulayem, President, Automobile and Touring Club for United Arab Emirates (UAE)

“It is clear to any impartial observer that Jean Todt and his team have already demonstrated their leadership abilities. Careful campaign planning, innovative policies, a commitment to consultation and communication demonstrates that their approach is highly professional, transparent and inspires great confidence for the future. Their focus on empowering the regions and zones of the FIA, even further, with an equal balance between Sport and Mobility, is typical of their approach which puts the membership of the FIA first. I will put all my energy into supporting their campaign and the strong democratic values it represents.”

Carlos Gracia, President, Real Federación Española de Automovilismo (Spain)

“I am pleased to confirm my support for Jean Todt and his candidacy team. I have read Jean’s policy proposals, I have discussed his programme with him in detail. I am impressed by his carefully considered approach and his strong commitment. Our sport and the FIA membership will be greatly enhanced by his vision for the future, a vision which I share and strongly appreciate. It will give us the freedom to accomplish important goals for the future health and growth of our sport.”

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David Drinkwater

May I comment please.

Some two thousand years ago, Aristotle said:

Moral authority resides in a leader because he is a better than average character. This means he must have the capacity for being trusted and to have people believing in him and to be ready to follow him when he jusdges the right thing to do

We cetainly have not had the above qualities and the fact taht Mr Mosely is advocating JT as his successor leaves some doubt in the mind.

Not that we can do anyhting about it -sadly.


I have posted previously on the Todt-Vatanen presidency battle following a previous thread started by James.

At the risk of being in a minority (based on the replies shown at the time of writing), I really think Jean Todt is way ahead in the political game at the moment and that reflects the man’s achievements in the real world. As much as I admire Ari Vatanen as a driver, he has produced little other than well meaning and doubtless heart-felt rhetoric as a presidential candidate. On the basis that past behaviour is the best indicator of future performance, Todt wins my (non-existant) vote as things stand, particularly as the two manifestos appear to be only slightly different when broken down to actual meaning.


Am I alone in thinking ¨FIFA, Sepp Blatter¨ ?


Were talking a political battle here and ones Finnish and other is French and short…

I almost feel sorry for Vatanen.


I’ve never known what to make of Jean Todt.

Obviously I’ve never met the guy but from the sofa he looks like a deeply passionate man that would have done anything to protect Ferrari.

I’ve always felt like he has been portrayed as a shady character that would sell his own children to give Ferrari an advantage.

If you applied the old saying ‘would you buy a car of that man?’, my answer would have been ‘no’.

I think my answer is still ‘no’ though….


Blimey, have some of that Vatanen. To be honest I think they are both worthy contenders and a change is as good as a rest, but this is a serious slap in the whatnots and I reckon we might see the retaliation is a little less than the primary strike. I for one would hate to be in a showdown with this little fellow. Start photoshopping the Napoleon images now….


Without being presumptious, I’d have to imagine the readers of your blog to be a lot less impressed by that grim roll-call of backers.

Deschaux’s main achievement of his tenure was somehow to manage to conspire to lose the French Grand Prix, Mallya should perhaps be concentrating less on politics and more on paying his overdue Ferrari and Mercedes engines bills, ben Sulayem when not smashing up R28s in a straight line, will forever be known as the guy with the brown envelope full of Mosely yes-confidence votes (before becoming an FIA vice-president), and not two months ago Gracia was quoted as saying “Unless Max has gone even more mad I don’t think he’ll back Jean Todt because we all know where he comes from and who he’s linked to”. Imagining what has transpired in the meantime to effect such a turnabout in his opinion is left as an exercise for the reader.

I am sure to some it represents impressive smoky back-room schmoozing, but i think many would feel that is exactly what is killing F1, that sort of shady, one-hand-washes-the-other, cynical, FIA politicking … unfortunatley we don’t get a vote, we just endure the consequences.

Although, if empty-headed Obama-style hopenchange, unicorns and lollipops is really the best that Ari can manage in his proposal, then we’re all truly lost aren’t we.


Are you by any chance in the Biz? Let’s hope that we are not going to be eventually into Max 2 with Jean. But on the other hand Mr Vatanen is going to have to do a lot better than he has done so far if he is to have a prayer of election


am i the only one that completely missed vatenen’s manifesto!?


Hardly surprising that Todt is several steps ahead in the race – his candidacy has been talked about for several years, he is clearly Mosley’s heir apparent and it would seem that he has been working hard for some time now courting the votes of the various national bodies – who are the ones who actually get to vote.

It seemed that Vatanen appeared at about the time that the FIA/FOTA split was at its height earlier in the summer – was he a FOTA candidate and, now the threat of a split has gone, has his candidacy become an irrelevance to the teams?


God help F1!


Nice to see the UAE so in favour of, “strong democratic values.”

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