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Jean Todt set to fight Mosley ally for FIA presidency
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Sep 2013   |  1:15 pm GMT  |  48 comments

The battle lines were drawn over the weekend in the forthcoming FIA presidential election, when incumbent Jean Todt confirmed that he will stand for re-election.

Last week the FIA Foundation’s David Ward, a former Labour Party adviser, launched his manifesto with a 20 point plan for reform of the federation. Ward is a long time ally of former FIA president Max Mosley, which gives this election a particular piquancy.

Ward is keen to see the role of president – an unpaid position – going to the president of a national federation, while the job of running things day to day would fall to an appointed CEO, who would be remunerated for his work. Ward hoped that a national president would stand, whom he could support. But in the absence of one, he is standing himself.

The election will be held in Paris on December 6th. It will be decided by the FIA General Assembly, comprising 183 voting members.

Interestingly, this weekend in Monza the leading team principals gave Todt their endorsement, with Christian Horner (Red Bull), Ross Brawn (Mercedes), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren) and Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari) all saying that continuity with Todt would be the best outcome.

“He has not used this sport for his own ego, which I think is very tempting,” said Whitmarsh. “I won’t go back into the past but I’ve seen and survived so far three presidents – only just, one of them – but I think Jean has acted in the interests of motorsport. I think for some people there hasn’t been enough commotion, action, controversy around him.

“Those are good in some people’s minds but I think for those of us that participate in the sport, having some consistency, someone who takes decisions that are in the interests of the sport quietly and efficiently is very beneficial. As you say, we don’t influence the outcome but I think Jean has done a good job so far and we’ll see if he’s successful at continuing to be the President.”

But the election will not be fought out in the F1 paddock – although its outcome will have a huge bearing on F1 – nor will it be fought out in the media. It will be among the national federations and clubs from countries around the world. There are powerful block votes, like the Middle East, which could be very important this time, and the Caribbean.

In the last election, Mosley and his team, as well as Mosley’s long time ally Bernie Ecclestone, backed Todt when he ran against former rally champion Ari Vatanen.

But the signs are that now this group is opposing Todt and there will be some fascinating messaging and positioning over the coming three months.

This began today when Ward sent a letter to Damien Clermont, chief administrative office at the FIA entitled “FIA neutrality request letter” asking for the opportunity to have his campaign messages linked to the FIA website, requesting fair treatment and calling for checks and balances that the FIA machine will operate impartially during the election process,

“I would like clarification that this duty of neutrality will apply not just to the employees among the FIA Administration but also to all external consultants and lawyers currently being paid by the FIA,” writes Ward. “It is of course, of the utmost importance that no FIA resources are used in a biased manner in favour of any particular candidate.”

He signs off the letter, “I would also like clarification on the supervision of the election process. What body will take responsibility to monitor the implementation of the Guidelines during the election period?”

This is how the process works from here:


The candidate must first get backing from a number of national federations and mobility clubs. Then he has to submit a list of 17 candidates for key roles. This is where it gets interesting because senior influential figures within the FIA have to pick whose side they are on. At this point we will get a good idea of who is looking strong.

This process begins in October and concludes on 15 November.

There are 183 members with voting rights, whose vote will be counted at the FIA General Assembly in Paris on December 6th.

Absolute majority is required (at least half, plus one, of the votes)

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James for me the biggest single moment that the FIA’s decision making process was called into question was their handling of the Mercedes secret test. Do you think this has played it’s part in having someone like Ward throw their hat into the ring and whether this maybe broadly perceived as a slight question mark on Todt ?

I know the decision to take the matter to the tribunal was widely supported and even appreciated by most team principals because it tested a process and was the right thing to do – after the fact. Despite assurances that there will be greater clarity in future is there perhaps some doubt whether the internal administration and authorisation guidelines within the FIA are solid to deal with these matters properly in future. I don’t have a problem with Jean Tdot – I think he’s a top guy and the right guy for the job.

It’s more a perception thing and how the other members of FIA perceive that whole matter. Certainly interesting to see what happens.

I always cringe when someone suggests that lawyers, contractors, external parties have full access to the voting process & disclosures on the FIA Website- I would really like to know what all that is about and appreciate some feedback.


The biggest fail within the the recent FIA rule is not the F1, but it is the WRC!

What a mess!


Now that is true. The poor WRC is dying. Some change from the epic 90s.

Its the usual problem – manufacturers end up spending millions on electronic wizardry that is not really needed.

– 2.0 ltr turbo engines.

– Passive diffs.

– No ABS.

– No traction control & very limited engine mapping memory.

– Manual gearboxes and clutch.


At the same press conference the principals, with the exception of Whitmarsh, were saying what a mistake it was to ditch the V8’s!

Todt has cost them with the new engines. They’ve turned out to be a lot more expensive than originally planned.


Just wait on the engines.

We will know in 5-10 years if it was the right call or not.

If it results in significant amounts of hard won knowledge cascading back into commercial engines, then it will have been a good decision.

Also, and I hate to say this as its fluffy, it also helps protect F1 from environmental campaigners [and thus, the commercial attractiveness to sponsors] as they have taken some initiative.


For the long term good of the sport, it probably had to be done to prevent the engine manufacturers getting cheesed off and departing. For McLaren the initial outlay is worth it to coax Honda back into the sport. But for Ferrari it’s a big expense to just maintain the status quo.


Very true


Hi James, off topic here … but I wanted to drop a note to say it was a pleasure meeting you this weekend – we appreciated you taking the time to speak to come and speak with us.

It was an amazing weekend and getting the chance to talk F1 with people like yourself makes it such an experience.

Hope to do it again at some point soon.

Keep up your great work ….


Thanks it was good to meet you too.

See you around


This is the quality of FORUM we need.

Well done, gentlemen!


James you have way more knowledge than us on thos issue. Could u please describe in few sentences the + and – of Todt’s presidency? Thanks


In a separate article soon yes


James, sorry to digress, but Williams F1 just announced their quarterly results, and as expected they are bleeding money with little to show on track or outside. With no serious investments towards future, and relying on pay drivers, it is perhaps fair to say they are not serious contenders for the title next year or the year after that.

Question is, will Williams survive ? Or will they follow one of the many great names that once dominated F1 and are now buried under a heap of dust ?


Apparently they get a certain amount each year, regardless of where they finish, so they should be okay for a little while.

It would great to see them near the top again, and with Merc power next year who knows?


I’m not James, but I don’t think you need a lot of insider knowledge to see that Williams wont be frontrunners again any time soon, if ever.


James, how much bearing does Bernie have in this? I mean he is due in court soon and if he were to be sent down, who would be in the stronger position, Todt or Ward?


Bernie. Even if the fox steps down ( I doubt ) one day, Bernie will be, in my opinion a king governing behind the scenes, a pope governing behind a pope, simply because Bernie has become so powerful, that he does not need to hold his position as CVC employee no more in order to keep his control on F1 forever and for the next generations to come, after him probably there will followers such as both of his ex wife Slavica, who accord to the media, “has some control of his trust and shares”, the current wife Fabiana would as well, if she eventually trough her work gets shares along with Petra and Tamara -his two billionaire daughters, and the fact the again, accord to the public media, Bernie supposedly owes shares of the F1 corporation, allegedly owes a few f1 racing tracks around the world.

The man loves his job and is one of the smartest people I ever met… I admire his endless sharp mind . But above all I admire the fact that he is a survivor whom never gives up… GOD BLESS THE KING ! GOD BLESS ENGLAND !


I hope David Ward receives some good spanking from Todt in the election. The sport doesn’t need another Mosley.


…and Jean should regain for FIA full control of the F1 commercial rights by getting that outrageous 100 year for peanuts contract fully revoked, then spread the goodies between FIA, teams and racetracks, with fans worldwide getting F1 on FIA’s own free, live internet TV!


I found Todt’s promises regarding F1 to be largely unkept. The governance of the sport was distanced from the president but now the running of the sport seems more faceless. We don’t have a single leader.

The reform of the stewarding was largely absolute garbage. We got a celebrity steward and the same inconsistent decisions. Oh and we were supposed to get much more transparent steward decisions, but that never happened. Just the same old ‘boys called in post race to plead their case’ and nothing of significance released to fans to justify decisions.

F1 isn’t being run effectively as a sport. It is still being run as an entertainment business, it has just become harder to call anyone out on it.


I was very much against Todt last time, partly because he had the Mosley seal of approval. But I have to admit, he has done very well in my opinion, just getting on with things and making decisions which might have been painful for some, but are in the interests of the sport. Whitmarsh says it well above. I hope Todt wins this time and during his second term the last dregs of Mosley’s influence will wither away.


BRAVO, Forza Minardi ! Aspettiemo lo stesso..

Valentino from montreal

Jean Todt : X

Ward : ….


Jean Todt X Mosley again


Make them race karts around Monaco – winner gets the presidency.


Best idea I’ve heard in ages 🙂


Am I right in thinking it’s one country one vote i.e. the delegation from Belize has as much say in the outcome as the UK?

If so, it seems ripe for corruption.

And there’s a Mosley ally standing.

Wonder who’ll win…


Ripe for corruption! My goodness you’ve understated it a bit there. The candidates will now prostrate themselves to the various national delegations, promising them the world, the best jobs, funding for their national programmes etc etc.

Giving the rep from Barbados (purely as an example) the same weighting as the rep from Italy or the UK all but gurantees corruption as the guy tries to maximise his moment in the sun and milk it for everythng it’s worth.

As for Todt, it’s a difficult one. On the face of it, it would appear that he has achieved precisely nothing (the Team are probably backing him for that very reason – i.e. he does not interfere). On the other hand if Ecclestone and Mosely want him out there is every chance it is because he is a principled, decent human being!

In my opinion job number one for the FIA President should be to sort out the stewarding decisions in F1. Some decisions make a mockery of the formula, and the inconsistency is utterly gaulling and totally inexcusable.


I think Todt has achieved something very worthwhile – he’s turned the judicial arm of the FIA from a Mosley-run Kangaroo Court into a robust and independent judiciary, with an independent judge (or quasi-judge at least) sitting over the whole process. Regardless of whether you liked the outcome or not, compare the way the Mercedes Pirelli test was handled compared to the personal vendetta-driven judgements against McLaren for Spygate and Briatore for Singapore.

I agree stewarding needs to be looked at, the appointment of ex-driver stewards has given their decisions more legitimacy, but they’ve done nothing to improve consistency. And like you I’m mystified why incidents that occur before the first round of pitstops are routinely being postponed until after the race.


The FIA is not just about F1. Must the President of the FIA really get involved in stewarding decisions?


Nope, but i did not suggest that he should get involved in making the decisions. However, the Stewards are appointed by the FIA. The rules are set by the FIA. The president of the FIA has to be involved at some level doesn;t he?


Can you give us some examples?


Not specifics i’m afraid, us non pundits tend to shout about them and then forget the specifics. But in terms of general principles:

1: Any decision which is delayed until after the race. Any decision which affects the race should be dealt with by the time the flag is waved as it leaves the whole thing open to allegations of manipulation.

2: Decisions almost always go in favour of the cars involved in the WDC race when they tangle with a midfield or back marker, regardless of who is at fault. The stewards are generally terrified of affecting the WDC and slower cars cannot simply evaporate on command. Navigating slower cars is a skill unto itself.

3: The track is defined by the white lines. This changes literally from week to week, sometimes a driver can get a penalty and sometimes they do not. Even within the same race. If the driver routinely leaves the track he is getting an advantage or he would not be doing it (these guys know what they are doing and are capable of driving inch perfect), it should not only matter if he is overtaking or defending at the time.

4: Move once to defend. Most of the time this rule is only enforced if there is an incident and is let slip if cars do not come together. I don’t like the rule but is it a rule or not?

5: It’s not just a case of IF a penalty is issued, it’s what penalty. There seems to be no logic applied as to whether a driver gets a stop go, a drive through, a 3 place grid penalty, a 10 place grid penalty, added time etc. Why are there so many different sanctions available within such a wide range for similar incidents? No other sport has this. It should be straight forward i.e.: leave the track and gain an advantage (drive through), cause a colission (ten place grid penalty), impeed in qualy (3 place grid penalty) etc. Not saying these are the right penalties but there should be only one possible oyutcome for each type of violation not a range.


AGAIN??? Is there ANY other country besides UK and FRANCE capable of running as Presint of FIA?

To be honest we all need RENOVATION. I vote for a woman, (AUSTRIA ??? – GERMANY??? – USA???

After Balestre and Mosley , we should know better.


So what are you suggesting, that Mosely rules out anyone from the UK because we are all like him? What do you mean we should know better?

And what’s all this talk of ‘renovation’? Who or what is being renovated?

And why would you vote for a woman? Just because she is female? That’s the exact sort of sexism that is excused this way round but is every bit as appalling as saying i’d only vote for a man.

Pretty much your whole post is offensive (and i’m guessing you’re not really a woman).


Thanks for your comment. May I add that I don’t like or dislike Mosley. I bet he did good things during his service as FIA President. IT is NOT personal. By the time I quit working in F1 under Bernie -Balestre term, – I worked as a Physician(I was at that time Professor Sydney Watkins assistant) until back in 1989 – Personally, as a woman,

I confess finding him very good look but I had never had the opportunity to meet the guy in person… The public media is very good in showing us some good behind the scenes portraits and I do not think that the journalits are making stuff out just ot sell papers… Reading the Public reports about Mosley I do believe he is a very well educated and skillful lawyer, coming from a traditional and powerfull English family, very well connected, and with a legion of fans like yourself, therefore I wouldn’t be surprise to see him back and taking AGAIN the FIA main seat. Although in my opinion, with his also public (and sad) record, it means I also desagree the way they did the dirty laundry – ANYONE deserves and has the right to have a PRIVATE life – but some stains, even the fake ones are hard to get rid off. The survivals will see and only time will settle the differences. Me, myself, I am just a fan now.

Personally I like renovations and new challenges. I dream of ONE of the 500 millions f1 fans OUT there, could be you,me – a woman, a Chines, another Englishman, ANYONE would stand a chance to be the next FIA President. Jean TODD is also a great candidate for a second term If OBAMA did it, why not to dream about it? It is JUST a dream.

I appreciate very much your legit comments and I apologize weather you felt offended by my post. Have a nice day

F1 woman


To be honest the formatting wasn’t crash hot either. Caps are a privilege, not a right.


Dear Random 79: I am Brazilian-American and due to my STRONG Brazilian culture we can get carried on by emotions… We think (in BRAZIL) if we talk louder (or CAPS) people can hear us better.. Stupid, isn’t it?

Your observation proceeds but please be patient with me – I am still learning…I promise you:

NO MORE CAPS !!! rsrsrsrsr….


Absolutely correct. Best person for the job, regardless!


So stand! its an open contest


Thanks for your great comment.

I only wish if… but I am a small fish.

The TITANS remind me Politicians and Businessman, masters players closing deals and alliances for many years.

I dislike both but I have learned to LOVE the sport since 1984.

Is hard to brake the chains and making changes.

Since I had to say goodby to the best of F1 back in 1994 when I used to be shoulder to shoulder with racing samurais: Senna, Prost, Mansel, Piquet, Fittipaldi, and many others, all I hope is that the sport do not turn into a Circus.


Precisely. I want someone who is competent and capable of doing the job. If that’s an Austrian woman then great. But I don’t care as it has nothing to do with their ability to do the job.

Out of the two candidates that have thus far put themselves forward, Todt is by far the better man. Ward is a throw back to the bad old days of the FIA, a politically motivated man who will divide motorsport and act in his (or Moseley’s) own best interests. I was sceptical when Todt came to power, albeit glad that Moseley was no longer in office, but thus far he has proven me wrong. Hopefully he can continue to do so.


Very good comment, Thank You! It shows you know the subject, it history and has achieved wisdom by analyzing the public facts

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