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Todt wins a landslide, major changes in F1 on the way
Todt wins a landslide, major changes in F1 on the way
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Oct 2009   |  1:48 pm GMT  |  51 comments

Max Mosley is no longer the FIA president.

Jean Todt has been elected to the role, with a landslide majority and this will mean some major changes in the structure of the body which regulates the F1 world championship.

Photo: FIA

Photo: FIA

In the end he received almost three times the amount of votes as his rival, Ari Vatanen.

Todt had 135 backers, with Vatanen on 49 and there were 12 abstentions.

Todt stood on a ticket which emphasized ‘teamwork’ – which is what he was known for as a leader of the Ferrari F1 team during the most successful period in its history.

He has a very powerful group around him and a strong roster of vice presidents. One of the most influential figures in the new regime is an American, Nick Craw, who also played an important role in Mosely’s reign. He becomes president of the FIA Senate. In charge of the sporting side of the FIA is Graham Stoker, from the RAC Motor Sports Association in the UK.

Todt will make some immediate changes which will be felt before the start of the next F1 season. He plans to introduce an F1 commissioner to oversee the FIA’s role in the sport, dealing with the teams, with Bernie Ecclestone and with the rule making process. Todt is set to keep himself at arm’s length from the sport. With the election now out of the way, attention will now focus on who the F1 commissioner will be.

Also he plans to strengthen up the stewards, who have been the centre of some controversy in recent years. It remains to be seen whether Mosleys’ trusted deputy Alan Donnelly will retain the role. Rumours during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend suggested that he might not. Perhaps he is hoping for the F1 commissioner’s role? How much of a regime change are we likely to see?

Todt plans to introduce a completely new disciplinary panel for F1, which will be less reliant on the World Motor Sports Council than Mosley’s regime was. 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.

There was a swift reaction to his victory from the teams. FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo, said “I would like to send my best wishes to Jean Todt in his new role, as I have always appreciated his ability, dedication and commitment. I am sure that, under his guidance, the Federation will be rejuvenated and will restore a climate open to dialogue and constructive collaboration with the teams and FOTA, thus ensuring stability of the regulations and the whole environment.

“Formula One is about to embark on a new phase: all the stakeholders must work together with an eye to the future, to increase the credibility and interest generated by this sport, tackling the technical and environmental challenges that await it, while keeping unchanged, those characteristics that have made it one of the most popular disciplines on the world stage”.

Todt was a divisive figure when he ran Ferrari. However many of the people Todt clashed with in the past are no longer in F1, like Ron Dennis and Flavio Briatore. But Frank Williams is still there and he has been close to the FIA under the recent Mosley regime. It will be fascinating to see how that relationship works. Toyota’s John Howett was less than enthusiastic about the idea of a Todt presidency over the summer, one of few F1 team principals to express a view on this subject.

Although Howett didn’t mention Todt by name, he said that the FIA should elect someone ‘independent’. Today Howett welcomed Todt with these words, “I am convinced that Jean Todt’s presidency represents an opportunity for all Formula One’s stakeholders to unite under his leadership and work together to strengthen our sport.

Todt’s policy agenda calls for the FIA to make motorsport safe and sustainable and he has a strong green agenda. I imagine that the measures voted through this week on a new engine formula, based around regenerative technology and fuel efficiency will be the cornerstone of his strategy to use motor sports as a catalyst for a culture change in automotive technology.

He has devoted considerable effort along with his wife the actress Michelle Yeoh, to the FIA’s Make Roads Safe campaign.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

It’s going to take decades to undo the damage the FIA has caused under Max ‘the fool’.

The FIA has zero credibility – it can create and interpret rules as it sees fit – it has no one to answer to.

Unless I see people like Alan Donnley removed – I expect zero imrovement…

The F1 commissioner would have to be someone the viewers respect, and not some leech, as has been the case with most of Max’s henchmen.


Its just nearly impossible for me to get past his close association with Ferarri. He’s going to have to lean over backwards to avoid *any appearance of impropriety. I think it’ll be impossible.


Sorry James, but I can’t agree. I fully expect many years of “more of the same” from Todt, aka Mosley 2.0.

Sure, he’ll shift a few people around, rename a few things, and give the veneer of “change” – but Mosley wouldn’t have been campaigning for him if there was to be any real change.


I thought Ari would be a good president, but as his campaign progressed I didn’t find him being specific, but only speaking in catch phrases and slogans, which to me was not very convincing.

Jean Todt, is vastly experienced in motor sport competition, and in so being involved, pushed the limits of fairness as all the other great team leaders did and do. I have a feeling that although he is MM’s choice to be the new president, I also have the feeling that he will rise to the occasion, and make international motorsport more of what it should be. I only hope that in so doing, he will put a halter on Bernie and CVC, in order that the fans can actually have a part in it all. Primarily, being able to enjoy attending an occasional race and not have to mortgage the house and kids to do so. The promoters deserve the oppotuunity to make a buck as well. And with the costs of the teams coming down over the next few years, the money necessary now to cover all the costs will come down as well and this should allow promoters the opportunity to host for less of a bite from Bernie as he will need less to pay the teams. CVC might also look at a refi that would allow their cost to be spread out over a longer time. In my opinion, The sale of the f1 rights to bernie and the exclusivity of that arrangement was not entirely to the benefit of the international motor community, as watching Bernie over the years and more specifically reading quotes from him , clearly shows.

I feel he needs to be reigned in severly, or better yet put out to pasture.



I think Michael Schumacher would be a great F1 commissioner. Many years as driver and knowledge about how F1 works in general with a lot of respect from the whole racing community.


I can see Schumacher becoming more involved with the FIA but I think it’s too soon for him to be F1 Commissioner. This needs someone with greater offtrack (management/political) experience of F1, which Schumacher may well achieve in the future. I would have suggested Jackie Stewart, except (self-acknowledged) age and current relationship with the FIA mitigate against it.

It is more likely, I suspect, to be a leading light from one of the member clubs that supported Todt or a present incumbent of a senior FIA position.


Very funny.


Nice work FIA. You can’t really do anything if your arse isn’t co-owned by Bernie or Max. Todt got both. History full of FIA backing him up or his team up.

Voting should be changed and if FIA members want change then they should vote for it. Not say that you might vote to gain something from FIA.

Again same things continue and i don’t really wait for anything special to happen next year or any other year when todt is the man.

Todt needs to listen Fota and be fair. Max and Bernie haven’t really done that. But sadly old things and teams are still in order by history and value. So they can do anything and still get away from it. Have to see what is coming next?


What would be interesting is if they allowed FOTA to elect the F1 Commissioner


Mad Max for F1 commissioner!!!!

Only kidding….let’s hope for someone with a positive and practical approach.

Hopefully they will be addressing the stewardship of races before next season.


I think people expecting more of the same should give the man a chance to prove himself. I am expecting changes myself. Given the apparent non friendly terms that he parted ferrari with, I expect all would not be well for the reds should they run into trouble, a nice change! With the new WMSC set up hopefully the verdicts can be more easily manipulated which lead more excitment (real or artificial) in the champ race. Horray!


Th election win was no surprise, but a 3 to 1 split was!! Looks like all the worlds motoring bodies are not screaming out for “change” and “transparency” like Europe seems to be!!!? Are we missing something here? So a new era begins, and we……..ah never mind!…time for a dump anyway!!!! #:)


James, you sound almost pleased that he won and you expect big things. Most of the media seems just the opposite….. interesting


I think a lot of us noticed that.


Thanks, James, one of the best opening sentences I’ve read in ages!

Despite many of the comments above, Todt does have an outstanding record of success in management and has been particularly adept at fostering teamwork and loyalty from his organisations, all of which are traits that should unify the FIA.

Where he has been less successful in the past is working alongside rival organisations; and this is where he has been divisive. Hopefully, allowing the new F1 Commissioner to handle day-to-day matters will alleviate this issue. This will need to be the right person, of course. It will not be Mosley because Todt is not stupid; I’d hope too it wouldn’t be Donnelly but that would surprise me less.

As for Ferrari bias, I do not really see it. Todt’s relationship with the team has dramatically changed. Besides, when he was at Ferrari, the preferential deal suited him; now he is at the FIA, it will not.

We needed change and we’re going to get it!


Hi Werewolf, thanks for another great post. I am always looking forward for your comments and more often than not agree with them!




It’s a shame, but its done. We can always hope for the best…

I do look forward to seeing more of Michelle.


Personally i would have preferred to see Vatanen in the role, however let’s not condemn Todt too harshly before he has done anything.


Do you mean not done anything besides presenting himself to Bernie as his personal yes man?

Bernie’s ‘He will not interfere in our business’ comment reveals 100% of the reason for JT’s support from Bernie. Make no mistake, the problem with Max was that he was not actually Max, he was Bernie wearing a Max suite and what he did was what Bernie said he must do! Example? Sell me the rights to F1 for 100 years!


I find it quite scandalous that someone like Martin Tomczyk lost his seat in the WMSC now obviously because he supported Vatanen and would have been a member of his cabinett. The ADAC reacted to this ‘election’ (and it has not been more of an election than in the old DDR days) saying that they are going to monitor closely for Todt to keep his ‘promises’. The laugh- the can watch him as much as they want. I’m sure Mr. Todt couldn’t care less.

I know its provocating, but lets try a little math here:

Todt+ Schumacher+ Massa+ Todts son managing Massa= the next title?

The conflicts of interest lingering in the background are worrying.


More of the same old MM style argumentative rubbish. What else is new?

Montezemlo will be having sleepless nights now.


How can people say this man will be fair and just.

He is going to be biased towards Ferrari.

As for the road saftey thing – what a joke.

They need to stop ‘willy waving’ and get on with the business of sorting out F1/WRC etc.

This won’t happen now 🙁


I don’t think his relationship with Montezemolo is specially close these days. Plus, he will be on a mission to avoid any criticism of Ferrari bias, just as a school teacher treats his own son harder than the rest of the class. No, the real concern is having a man that has shown on several occassions, by means of his ruthless approach, the relative importance sport has in his scale of values.


James do you know exactly why Luca and Jean had a falling out? It seems Luca and Stefano Domenicalli have now a better relashionship with all other teams that Jean had when he was at Ferrari. Was Luca unhappy with Jean’s handling of that relationship even if on many occasion it helped Ferrari’s cause?

The press told us that Luca wanted to sign Alonso and Jean was against it so if this is true that is one point on which they disagreed but I don’t find this a strong enough point for them to end up falling out. There must have been something else more important that that. Any idea what that might have been?


You do realise that prior to Ferrari, Jean Todt had spent 11 years as boss of Peugeot sport.

He was an employee of Ferrari, and had a bit of a falling out with Montezemelo, the current Ferrari F1 boss. So, why’s he likely to be Ferrari biased?

Jean Todt also has an experience of a range of motorsport, having been both a rally driver and co-driver, boss of a rally team, masterminded Peugeot’s sports-car projects, winning Le Mans and the World Sportscar Championship, as well as transforming Ferrari from a clunking chaotic team to the model of professionalism!

Jean Todt is also not going to be directly involved with the running of the sports – with a commisioner appointed for F1, WRC etc. Perhaps before you judge him, you might want to actually think about what he is proposing to do!


I’m very disapointed for Ari. I think Ari truly understood the change the FIA needs whereas Todt offers more the same – if not worse. Especially this nonsense, as you mentioned, about ignoring the World Motorsports Council.

I wrote an article on Ari Vatanen and the change that’s needed in F1. Hope you can take a look.



I’m sure his 15 year tenure at Ferrari as team principal and then CEO will make for a very unbiased, impartial FIA governance just like that of his predecessor.

And of course, we know that he always acts in the true spirit of the sport as we reflect on the team orders debacle where he instructed Rubens to allow Michael through to win the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlPrj9a88ME).

The king is dead, long live the king!


In season testing to re-appear soon then !


God have mercy on our sport…


Would be really interesting if Ari becomes the F1 Commissioner.


That is an excellent idea.


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

Me for F1 Commissioner…


So what happens next? I know what happens next!!

Ferrari cakewalk to championships for the next 5 years & Ron Dennis & Martin Whitmarsh serve jail terms for industrial espionage?? or something rubbish. huh?? Absolutely sickening!! What sort of a governance can this man provide?? Its like asking Fidel Castro to rule USA!!

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