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Anxious F1 waits for president Todt to show colours

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Andrew Benson | 12:39 UK time, Friday, 23 October 2009

The election of Jean Todt as the new president of motorsport's governing body is a chance for a new beginning for the administration of Formula 1.

The leadership of the previous FIA president, Max Mosley, had become identified with a period of bitter conflict, so Todt's election is a chance for everyone involved to start afresh. Given how unpleasant things got earlier this year, that is no bad thing.

In fact, it is a consequence of the depths to which the relationship between the FIA and the F1 teams sank that Mosley's 16-year tenure as president has come to an end.

Earlier this year, Mosley's agreement not to seek another term was critical to the resolution that ended the threat of eight of the sport's 10 teams to break away and set up a rival championship.

Had he refused to stand down, and ploughed on with his plans to introduce a budget cap into F1, the sport would now be on the edge of a precipice, with next weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix the final race for F1 as the world knows it.

All the leading teams and drivers would be preparing to go off and race elsewhere, leaving one historically successful team - Williams - to race against a bunch of nobodies with second-rate drivers.

That is how bad things had got under Mosley, who the F1 teams believed was governing in an increasingly autocratic and arbitrary style. Happily, compromise was reached, and F1 will continue next year, bruised but otherwise unharmed.

The same cannot be said for Mosley's reputation.

Funny to think now that, when he was elected back in 1993 - having already spent two years running FISA, the now defunct, separate sporting arm of the FIA - Mosley stood on a platform of non-intervention in F1.

The reality has been quite different. Mosley seemed to like nothing more than to meddle in the sport in which, with F1 tsar Bernie Ecclestone, he has been a central figure in one way or another for 40 years.

But while his legacy will always be one of divisiveness and conflict, Mosley has undoubtedly had a profoundly beneficial effect on F1 in at least one way - safety.

Some of his proposals - such as the now-abandoned grooved tyres - have been a failure. But most in F1 would agree that, in the wake of Ayrton Senna's death in 1994, Mosley was instrumental in ensuring the sport's survival.

senna595.jpgMosley was instrumental in insulating F1 from calls for it to be banned following Senna's death

It's difficult to imagine now, but in the wake of the cataclysmic weekend at Imola, during which Senna and Austrian novice Roland Ratzenberger were killed, there were calls for the sport to be banned.

I well remember the shocked atmosphere at the next race at Monaco, where - in the very first on-track session following Senna's death - the Austrian Sauber driver Karl Wendlinger crashed horribly and ended up in a coma.

The next morning, the headline on the influential French sports newspaper L'Equipe said simply: "Stop this". And F1 came under scrutiny from politicians all over Europe.

Mosley acted rapidly and decisively. The very next day he announced a series of rule changes aimed at improving safety, some to be introduced immediately, others over the succeeding weeks and months.

It did the trick. The politicians backed off, and F1 breathed a sigh of relief. And Mosley, and other key lieutenants, have to be applauded for never letting up in the quest for further safety improvements ever since.

F1 as a sport is immeasurably safer now than it was then, and it gets safer every year - and for that the sport is in Mosley's debt.

The same is true of every person who drives a car on the roads of Europe today.

Probably Mosley's greatest achievement as FIA president has nothing to do with F1 - he was responsible for the introduction of the now-mandatory Euro NCAP crash tests which all road cars have to pass before they go on sale.

It would be nice to think that the new FIA president will continue the good work where Mosley left off and set about trying to repair the damage of the bad.

Whether he will remains an open question.

People tend to be in two camps when it comes to their assessment of Todt, and they are easily split into people who have worked with him and those who have been his competition.

As Ferrari team boss for 15 years, the Frenchman was an incredibly divisive figure in the F1 paddock, ruthlessly pursuing his team's aims with no regard for what effect it was having on the wider sport.

Todt is inextricably bound to the controversies and questionable ethics of the Michael Schumacher era at Ferrari. He is notorious for his bulldozing manner and ruthlessness, and his marshalling of a team renowned for bending the rules to breaking point and beyond.

A perfect example of this was Ferrari's fixing of the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, when in only the sixth race of a season the team were clearly going to go on to dominate, Todt ordered Rubens Barrichello to hand victory to Schumacher on the final lap.

The decision - and the manner in which the positions were changed - caused uproar, and it was clear in the aftermath that Todt simply did not understand - or did not want to - what the fuss was about.

It is little surprise that people have questioned his fitness to act as the ultimate authority in an organisation that, to maintain credibility, must be seen to be acting objectively in the interests of fairness for all.

Probably the final example of Todt's antagonistic stance before leaving Ferrari was at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2008, when the teams wanted to sign a letter indicating their lack of confidence in Mosley in the wake of his sex scandal, only for Todt to refuse to do so.


That decision may well have been critical in Mosley being able to hold on to his position - and it takes on a new light following the events of this FIA presidential campaign, which has seen Mosley back Todt and aggressively try to undermine his rival Ari Vatanen.

But listen to those who have worked with Todt - whether it be at Ferrari or, before that at Peugeot, where he led successful campaigns in the world rally championship and in sportscars - and a different picture emerges.

They speak of his superb management skills, his willingness to delegate successfully, his loyalty, integrity and - incredibly to those on the outside - his warmth and understanding.

The question is, what kind of FIA president will Todt be? Will he see the F1 teams as he did his employees and act in a supportive and conciliatory manner - or will he act as he did to his rival team bosses and be antagonistic and disruptive.

An FIA president could operate successfully in either manner. Todt has talked about himself as the candidate of "consensus not conflict". F1 will be waiting anxiously to see whether he is true to his word.


  • Comment number 1.

    I just hope you don't get more Ferrari bias decisions with an ex-Ferrari employee's at the helm.... bring on 2010

  • Comment number 2.

    I never realised Todt was the only one who didn't want max ousted back in 2008. Very interesting point, thanks for that Andrew

    Whilst i would have preferred Vatanen over Todt for the job, it is hardly a surprise, given the FIA seems to be a bigger "gentleman's club" than the BRDC... how could an "outsider" like Ari ever hope to get voted in?

    Perhaps i'm being too judgemental. Let's wait and see how the next few months pan out - little Napoleon might be more impartial leader than we thought

  • Comment number 3.

    We all Know Todts colour already it's red. "Ferrari Red". It will be interesting to see any FIA decisions on F1 in the future and how they affect or benefit certain teams

  • Comment number 4.

    Ho Hum, what to say other than here we go again.

  • Comment number 5.

    Ferrari Interest Always. Business as usual.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    I thought it was Ferrari International Assistance.

    I would have preferred Ari to have been voted in but there you have it. I'm sure Alonso is pleased.

    Shame really, I'm sure that a lot of the public wanted a fresh broom.

  • Comment number 8.

    Most of you guys who have commented are not doing Jean Todt and the FIA justice. I am 100% sure that Jean Todt will not show any bias towards the Ferrari team and their drivers. In the 2008 season of F1 all of the controversy surrounding the FIA and who they 'favour' the Ferrari team was just an excuse for Lewis Hamilton and McLaren who nearly threw the title away.

  • Comment number 9.

    For once, I am going to be negative.

    I would presonally have preferred Ari over Jean Todt.

    One of the rumbling accusations over the past decade and even beyond is that the FIA have often preferred Ferrari, and they have intensified this theory over and over again. This was most notably done last year when the penalties for Ferrari and McLaren as they battled for the title were poles apart.

    I'm not sure about this. F1 needs a fair president, and any person with half a brain (sadly, this exlcudes many) would not have elected a former boss of a very controversial team as president.

  • Comment number 10.

    Ferarri will benefit, no doubt. Todt will be agressive and antagonistic to those who stand in his way, and an excellent person to work with to those who don't.

    The very fact that Mosely backs him shows what sort of person he is.

  • Comment number 11.

    aside from the worries/good things Todt might bring in with his new role, did anyone else see the photo and wonder why Lord Alan Sugar was getting involved?!

    the likeness seems uncanny.

  • Comment number 12.

    Alonso or Massa for the title then !!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Intrestingly, Max Mosely became unpopular during 2008/09. Imola 1994 was a sad day for the sport, and on Friday my favourite driver had massive head injures (i.e. Barrichello). Senna climed over the walls to see Rubens (They're both Brazilian) .Don't be surprised if Todt gets the vote for the president.

  • Comment number 14.

    "I'm not sure about this. F1 needs a fair president, and any person with half a brain (sadly, this exlcudes many) would not have elected a former boss of a very controversial team as president."

    As much as I would like this to be true, it would be because of their own, and collective agendas fitting in smugly with that of Jean Todt, not due to lack of intelligence...worrying times.
    Sadly, it looks like the majority support of the public counts for little or nothing in their eyes.

  • Comment number 15.

    The day the hope died.

    The FIA - once the Ferrari International Assistance group, always the Ferrari International Assistance group.

  • Comment number 16.

    I am surprised that AB yet again digs out old criticism of Schumacher+Todt and team orders. Michael paid Rubens back by gifting him at least 2 races (US and Italy). Why not go back a bit further? The last race of 97 at Jerez is only remembered for Michael colliding with Villeneuve, for which Michael was brutally penalised, whilst the very same race was clearly, obviously and visibly rigged between Williams and Maclaren: first DC was told to let Mika pass, then, mysteriously, Villeneuve let them both through, that is, it was rigged between 2 teams which is absolutely unforgivable and both teams should have been banned for a full season. And in the very next race, the FIRST of 1998, Maclaren told DC to let Mika pass and in precisely the same manner as Rubens in Austria: just before the flag. In a perverse way, the constant criticism of Schumacher only underscores his stature: if he was not involved, then it was not interesting! And looked at objectively, Schumacher's worst indiscretions seem almost innocent in comparison with those of Senna. Personally, having followed F1 since the late 1950s, yes for more than 50 years now, Schumacher is clearly the most complete and the greatest driver ever. Oh, by the way: Todt or Vatanen? Not sure, to be honest! I hope Todt will use his amazing skills in the best interests of the sport as a whole.

  • Comment number 17.

    So much for a fresh start. More a handing over of the reigns. King-making by the departed leader hardly ever happens these days. If everyone so disliked Mosley why did they vote for his choice to succeed him? Think we will have more of the same messy rule changes next season when what we really need is 5 years of stability and minimal interference so that the fans and the teams can properly develop a car and not having to wing it all the time. Jenson won the title this season because of the rear diffuser innovation. No other reason. Lets hope Brawn or Mclaren can pull another fast one on Ferrari next season and lets make it 3 in a row British driver victories.

    Anyone else have a sneaky feeling that now that Todt is in the main beneficiary is going to be Renault...lets just wait and see if their suspended ban becomes a fine...

  • Comment number 18.

    The very fact that he was endorsed by Mosley should have disqualified Todt as an electable candidate, in my view....

  • Comment number 19.


  • Comment number 20.

    So, Scuderia Ferrari have got their man on the inside then !!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Max Mosley + F1 = FIA President - Max Mosley + Jean Todt = FIA President = Status Quo in F1
    ....oh dear the kings sport once again using the court jesters to decided their fate!

  • Comment number 22.

    As far as I can see it will enable Ferrari to influence F1 without leaving themselves open to the criticism of cheating levelled at pretty much every other team that has had the temerity to beat them in the last few seasons.

  • Comment number 23.

    down to the bookmakers ferrari for both championships

  • Comment number 24.

    16) myspeak hakkinen and coulthard had an agreement that whoever led into the first corner would win the race so please get your facts right

  • Comment number 25.

    So we oust one Red and replace him with another. Here's to another [insert number] years of Ferrari International assistance. Just as the sport was becoming interesting again. What a shame.

  • Comment number 26.

    Interesting that the link text "Ari Vatanen" actually leads to Max Mosley's Wikipedia page. Is there something we should know?

  • Comment number 27.

    Total sham, after all that support in one direction during Spygate, is it any wonder who Mosely proposed for his replacement. The future looks very bright indeed for Ferrari...wither the others.

  • Comment number 28.

    Expect more controversial decisions to go in Ferrari's favour from now on...

    If Todt is going to garner the full respect of the F1 community, his first task should be to appoint Ari Vatanen as the new F1 commissioner. In this respect, Vatanen will be seen to be independent, with no conflicts of interest arising from a history of participation in F1. And then Todt should leave F1 well-alone and concentrate on all the other important aspects of the FIA.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    imho, the FIA could not have made a worse appointment if they tried. They've replaced a Ferrari fanatic qith questionable personal morals, with a Ferrari fanatic with questionable competitive morals. How do the FIA expect to shed their "Ferrari International Assistance" nickname under his tenure ?

    Ari would have been a far better choice because he brought not only a racing driver's head, but also a level of impartiality within F1 that could only have served to improve the FIA reputation.

    WelcomeHomeF1 is right - Todt's first task should be to appoint Ari and put him in charge of the F1 part of the organisation. That might just about extricate the FIA from yet another shambles.

  • Comment number 32.

    i don't want to be critical or even more cynical than the next fan......but Jean Todt does kind of smack of biys club and ferrari appreciation society........its a worry for the fans and the other teams and not the positive move i'd hoped to see, Ari Vatenan was a move in the right direction for some real change to take place not a continuation of the Mosley strife......i wait to be proved wrong!

  • Comment number 33.

    I see certain religious groups increse their stranglehold on the F1 reigns yet futher.

  • Comment number 34.

    How is it possible that BBC Journalist make so many mistakes while expressing facts. Senna died at the San Marino GP not at Imola.
    Please try to check your facts before publishing as you are paid to do so!!

  • Comment number 35.

    To Miloudi, post 34:
    The San Marino GP was held at the Imola circuit.

  • Comment number 36.

    sorry i messed up the last one as i was fed up of findings errors on different football blogs! It seems that the F1 journalist are better than their football counterpart at expressing facts
    Sorry again

  • Comment number 37.

    34) the san marino gp was held at imola so please get your facts right

  • Comment number 38.

    Most of you guys who have commented are not doing Jean Todt and the FIA
    justice. I am 100% sure that Jean Todt will not show any bias towards the
    Ferrari team and their drivers. In the 2008 season of F1 all of the
    controversy surrounding the FIA and who they 'favour' the Ferrari team was
    just an excuse for Lewis Hamilton and McLaren who nearly threw the title
    So those ridiculous penalties aimed at Hamilton and McLaren, the likes which had never previously been seen in F1 were for the good of the sport? Well, we all know where you stand, don't we?
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --

    I am surprised that AB yet again digs out old criticism of Schumacher+Todt and team orders. Michael paid Rubens back by gifting him at least 2 races (US and Italy)…
    In 50 years of following F1, haven’t you worked out yet that the fans want to see genuine racing, not fixing or ‘gifts’ in order to make amends for the fixing? What AB says about Todt is what the majority of the paddock – and quite possibly almost anyone who is not Ferrari fan –thinks. I’ve been following the sport only a few years less than you and I used to love Ferrari but that whole Todt, Brawn, Schumi era stank! I fell out of love with F1 and only in the last three or four of seasons has the sport emerged from the darkness.

    As for Schumacher… “clearly the most complete and the greatest driver ever” is your opinion. He may well have been one of the best but that was clouded by the fact that he was clearly the most ‘assisted’ F1 driver ever.

    I'm certainly not holding my breath for any freshness in the way F1 is run in the immediate future.

  • Comment number 39.

    Well i thought the 'F' stood for Ferrari for several years, so now its official!

  • Comment number 40.

    @28 + 31
    Appointing Ari Vatanen as F1 Commissioner.
    Yes. I hadn't thought of it, but it seems an ideal solution. Even if Mr. Vatanen has no personal experience inside F1, he would be accepted as an impartial hearer of everyone's views.
    This would also help to overcome what could be seen as a political blunder by the FIA: Jean Todt is seen as Max Mosley's man even if he is the better candidate (I don't know enough about this, but the FIA does much more than just run F1), but if he wants an independent commissioner then his opponent would certainly provide it.

  • Comment number 41.

    Mistake, Mistake, Mistake,

    The FIA have made sure that the future of F1 is even more scandalous than before. Hope its only a four year term.

  • Comment number 42.

    Todt is just going to be more of Mosley, just without the fetishes.

  • Comment number 43.

    Jean Todt has been great where ever he has worked and he will do his best. Your blog does nothing but give rise to those ferrari bashers. Its a pity to see such a narrow minded article and comments.

    I think Jean has the right frame of mind. Just look how the other fellow standing for the seat basically behaved in a low class manner. Words of war will only take him so far but jean was above it all.

    To make an assumption that Jean would side ferrari when there are no real facts to support it is just plain poor understanding of the task ahead for jean and FIA.

    Please look at things more objectively the next time.

  • Comment number 44.

    will f1 ever be free of ferrari bias!! ex team priciples should never ever be concidered for president of the fia.

  • Comment number 45.

    @ #5 It is actually Ferrari International Assistance, well renowned name!

  • Comment number 46.

    I believe that Ferrari are the ONLY team in F1 with an FIA member..??

    I also believe that Ferrari is the only team with a veto on all FIA matters...??

    Could anyone..confirm this...and if true....what should be done to change an apparently divisive situation...

  • Comment number 47.

    Well F1's dead then

  • Comment number 48.

    Ferrari International Assistance is a very well established acronym for a very good reason. This is not going to do motor sport any good whatsoever.

    (Another acronym: Fix It Again Tomorrow - FIAT, many mechanics use this term!)

  • Comment number 49.

    This is such a disaster....what motor sport needs is fresh and unbiased blood. I'm stunned.

  • Comment number 50.

    F1 going to be as bent as ever then? Gutted.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think there is a lot of bias on this blog. Jean Todt has proved to be a worthy successor to Max Mosely and would definitely have the interests of FIA as his main

    Alonso to win 5 championships in a row.....I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!(cackling laughter in the distance etc...)

  • Comment number 52.

    decent blog but the hate for Schumacher still seeps through. Almost an obsession with the retired champion and a compulsive need to take a cheap shot. Questionable tactics by Ferrari?? really didn't Mclaren/Williams fix the final race of 97 season the championship deciding race?, or the great hero Coulthard getting MS nearly killed in Belgian GP(I think) 1998 which cost MS 10 points and in the final analysis the title??. The writer needs to realize MS was probably the greatest driver he will ever get to watch in his lifetime and maybe appreciate his skills a bit more.

    As for all the fools who seem convinced FIA stands for Ferrari International Assistance remember that FIA has constantly meddled with rules whenever Ferrari have established dominance eg 2003, 2006. Also if Bernie is a bit biased towards Ferrari then its perhaps due to the simple fact they have the most fans and bring in the most money. People don't buy tickets in name of Red Bull/Brawn/Toyota etc they buy the tickets for Ferrari. If you owned a sport and 1 team brought in 60%+ of the fans, you too would be a bit biased.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think people talking about Ferrari International Assistance are being a bit simplistic.
    Yes Ferrari have benefitted from "kindness" from the FIA in the past. But which Luca insisted Kimi was coming to Ferari in 2007 and which M Todt was against the move (which alledgedly brought forward Schumi's retirement)? Which team were a leading light in FOTA this season - arguably the leading light - forcing Max off the stage and threatening to leave the FIA with a Mickey Mouse series nobody would watch?
    Hopefully Jean is serious about all this consensus stuff - but if he turns out to be the vindictive little chap many F1 fans know he is capable of being......

  • Comment number 54.

    This would also help to overcome what could be seen as a political blunder by the FIA: Jean Todt is seen as Max Mosley's man even if he is the better candidate (I don't know enough about this, but the FIA does much more than just run F1), but if he wants an independent commissioner then his opponent would certainly provide it.
    Anyone can organise a motor race, no need for the FIA, people just love to get in their cars onr on their bikes and burn it up...but try holdinfg a Formula 1 Grand Prix without the FIA: No, don't kid yourself, virtually everything the FIA does is based around F1 and its feeder classes.

    This decision is a disgraceand the sooner this self perpetuating Ferrari cartel is broken up, the sooner F1 will emerge as a respectable sport.

  • Comment number 55.

    Sportszombie (52) how did coulthard nearly kill schumi?

    Schumi drove into the back of DC's car while DC was off the racing line. Add to that the fact it was pouring down with rain and DC's car had a huge plume of spray coming from it and I'm amazed schumi didn't see him.

    Also for all those complaining about the Villenueve/Schumacher incident, Schumi was penalised for deliberately driving into Vilenueve to try and take him out of the race, something he'd done to Hill a few seasons before and got away with.

    As for Todt as president, I'd like to think he'll bring about change, but I honestly can't see past a Ferrari double next season

  • Comment number 56.

    Here's the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • Comment number 57.

    Max and along with Bernie have destroyed motorsport by neglecting its remit and boosted the profile of F1 and nothing else.

    WRC is now a complete joke.

    As a former rally, sportscar man as well as F1 lets just hope Todt can undo the mess created.

  • Comment number 58.

    There is a lot of cynicism and criticism on this blog and i have to admit that the FIA haven't done themselves a lot of justice in the past. But to say next year will be a ferrari whitewash ('red'wash?) is rather unfair. Ferrari won nothing until 1998, many years after Mosely was elected.
    If, as some comments have suggested, you dislike what the FIA and J Todt might do to F1 then 'vote with your feet' and go watch the WRC or BTCC. Bernie, who seems to be treated as the real power behind F1, will surely notice people turning away from the sport (as happened in 2003-2006) and try and change things in the FIA.
    Being cynical isn't going to change anything and just brings more dark clouds around a sport which has had way too many of those over tha past year.
    Remember the opposite of loving something is to show it indifference not to hate it.

    Personally I am a Ferrari fan. Next year could be great or it could be back to the days previous to 1998 (18+ years without a drivers championship). Besides, All the ins and outs of the politics are part of what makes F1 so fun and exasperating, plenty of fodder for pub chats.

    Let's be fair though, where there is big money in sport, there is bound to be loads of political 'games', not just in F1.

    BTW, wasn't it Ron Dennis who coined the phrase Ferrari International Assistance? Andrew can you confirm this?

  • Comment number 59.

    I have found this ( ) from 2007 so it looks like Paul Stoddart may have coined the phrase "Ferrari International Assistance".
    In fact the whole article makes interesting reading.

  • Comment number 60.

    I was dreading him being appointed to the position, i am ever fearful of even more bias towards ferrari, in my opinion it was the worse possible person getting the job yet again, it will be the fans who lose out.

  • Comment number 61.

    Most of you guys who have commented are not doing Jean Todt and the FIA
    justice. I am 100% sure that Jean Todt will not show any bias towards So those ridiculous penalties aimed at Hamilton and McLaren, the likes which had never previously been seen in F1 were for the good of the sport? Well, we all know where you stand, don't we?
    We also know where you and most other people who commented on the blog stand as well. All of these anti FIA comments and reffering to them as 'Ferrari International Assistance' are just an excuse for Ferrari's previous years of domination and if they were to win te Drivers and Constructors Championships it would not be because of the team producing a good car and the drivers driving it well it would be because 'Ferrari Internation Assistance' helped them along the way. Macua Blue you also mentioned McLarens harsh penalties. I for one believe that none of their penalties were harsh and I think the FIA were pretty lenient with McLarens punishment after Spygate and the whole trulli/hamilton australian gp controversy earlier this year.

    I also agree with mutalbilah (#43) most people are just assuming that Jean Todt wil be biased without any real evidence. And if you guys don't like the FIA and think they destroyed F1 why are you still watching it?

  • Comment number 62.

    So FIA has become FIARRARI then...

  • Comment number 63.

    What a missed opportunity. Should have been Vatanen. No-one who has been so closely associated with one team will be completely unbiased and Todt will struggle to prove that when making any judgement where Ferrari, or indeed Peugeot, are involved. Add to that the facts that Vatanen has not only been a World Champion but also held high political office, it seems perverse that he was not elected. Mosley's endorsement of Todt can only make the task of proving he is a just FIA President that much harder. Let's hope Ari's still interested next time around.

  • Comment number 64.

    Max Mosley prior to the election, predicted thar Ari Vatanen would lose by a huge majority. How was he so confident about the result, unless the outcome of the election had been decided before the election took place.
    Mein fuhrer(Mosley) and his sidekick Goebles(Ecclestone) has ensured there will be no change within the FIA with the election of Inspector Clouseau(Todt), Ferrari will have a bigger controlling interest than previously. Perhaps the formula 1 teams should reconsider their options about an alternative to the existing authority. What took place the other day wasn't a democratic election, but a re-enactment of the night of the long knives,where you get rid of all opposition.

  • Comment number 65.

    The die is cast and the decision made. I suppose the best I can say about Todt is that whoever he works for he is 100% dedicated to 'their' cause. I hope then now that will be the FIA's without any bias to former employers.
    As others have said the FIA is more than just about F1. However my main issue with Todt is that while with Ferrari he manipulated results, defended outrageous track behaviour and perhaps worst of all was a party to, or the architect of an agreement with the FIA which clearly afforded his team an undoubted technical advantage or veto over future techical rules. A tendency to subvert the rules and the sporting code to suit his own ends I find unusual qualifications for this post.
    Time will tell. I admire Todt's CV but I thought Vatinen the right man for the job.

  • Comment number 66.

    I really suggest subscribing to Andrew's blog.

    Those of you who are after Australia 1994 & 1986 they're here:

  • Comment number 67.

    "FIA - Ferrari Interest Always. Business as usual."

    "I thought it was Ferrari International Assistance."

    Whatever - now with JT at the helm they will do no wrong :(

  • Comment number 68.

    Ecclestone has said that formula1 doesn't need Silverstone,the little caesar is very,very wrong. Formula 1 doesn't need Ecclestone, it needs someone who is in touch with the general public who support formula 1 and cares about what they want, not what little rich fat cats like Ecclestone wants. He only cares about improving his bulging bank balance, he claims to care about Formula 1 and being a patriot.
    Well Ecclestone should ensure Silverstone is re-instated as the long term home of the British GP.

  • Comment number 69.

    Well I suppose the more things are different the more they are the same!
    I'm just looking forward to more bent rules, stupid descions and the genaral mayhem that is F1
    Anyway look on the bright side, more fixed races without crashes!

  • Comment number 70.

    FakkenDazz (55)

    Several years after the spa crash with schumacher, DC admitted that the crash WAS entirley his fault, still best not let the facts get in the way of ferrari bashing eh?

  • Comment number 71.

    I seriously doubt Jean Todt is that unprofessional and will favour Ferrari anywhere near as much as Max and Bernie did. They have brought disrepute and shame to Formula one during the last 4-5 years when the actual racing has improved vastly. He seems rather 'old-school' and is Mosley's choice but hopefully with Jean F1 can acheive that long-awaited stability with a respected and well-known president.

  • Comment number 72.

    We can only hope that Jean Todt has taken this position as his own man and not as Mosely's agent. It seems that Max has taken great enjoyment in nearly ruining F1. I am at a loss to know what he hoped to achieve. The safety measures he fought for should have been a great legacy but I think he will be remembered for his negative and devisive moves. Please Jean Todt dont forget that Max Mosley almost lost F1 to the millions of people who love the sport.

  • Comment number 73.

    well no supprise realy to jean elected to say he would be biased is to soon to say as all jobs he has done hes given his all i just hope he does the same in this job too
    ari would for me be the one to do this but he was never going to as he would have turned f1 on its head and made puplic what realy goes on and that would upset alot of poeple and for me the main protaganist behind this is bernie he would be publicly ousted from f1 and the fia its clear what he wants he gets and he must have a very large back pocket as its clear that its full of influetial people who are scared to go against what he wants
    it will be a fine day for f1,teams and fans when bernie go's then the fia can get a grip on f1 until then it will be a case of same old same old

  • Comment number 74.

    Perhaps the FIA should have a term limit for its presidents. Without Max's last term he wouldn't have been able to become such a figure of hate.

  • Comment number 75.


    I would have preferred Vatanen.

    Todt will have to be very careful in how he handles F1 or he will just loose credibility and damage the sport even further.

    I will give him the benefit of the doubt for now.


  • Comment number 76.

    am glad to see the back of mosley, couldn't stand the guy....jean todt will get total respect and knows what he's doing and i can't wait for the new season

    couple points ferrari is not RED...there're scarlet ferrari's!

    Todt knows how to get things done and will make changes in favour for the drivers and would people stop moaning on how much FIA favour ferrari...yes i agreed what was done with schumi n rubens was not right at all but would any of you complain if rubens had team orders to move over for button to win the title on the last lap in brazil i think not and would any of you complain if it was mclaren that FIA favoured and with regards to penalties for ferrari against mclaren........mclaren should have been thrown out all together for cheating, spying on ferrari and blantently making their drivers lie to the stewards is a far worst crime than team orders

  • Comment number 77.

    Flying Niccy B said "Well I suppose the more things are different the more they are the same!".

    Lucky you didn't use the rather better-known French equivalent of that phrase. By some perverse twist of logic, that would have got your post removed by the apparently illiterate mods.

    Surely a basic level of functional literacy and knowledge of the subject matter is required in order to become a mod? Apparently not.

  • Comment number 78.

    Come on people, give the bloke a break. Why is it people are happy to sling the new incumbent into their Kangaroo Court and summarily pass sentence without a by your leave ?

    I remember Todt from before F1 when he was doing WRC, Sport Cars et al and commented to my keen F1 mate sometime back then that whoever managed to sign him up would do very well. I remembered several of my friends who laughed when he went to Ferrari and I said 'that'll be Ferrari as Champions before long then' That wasn't just down to the FIA, whatever you think.

    He is a top bloke at managing racing teams. You don't get there by letting people walk all over you, just as the same as the drivers. 'Oh, excuse me, would you like to go first ?' doesn't really cut it in a competitive world (apart from a few occasions when people are paid to do it of course !)

    It will be interesting to see how he decides to play things and whether he treats Ferrari as equitably as the rest. But let him have his chance and THEN pronounce judgement. I don't think he can make much more of a pigs ear of it than his predecessors.

    Mosley all bad ? I suggest you go and have a look at what happened with the 'Illustrious' Jean Marie Balestre. Senna & Prost in 1989 ? Favouritism ? Sorry. Which one was French ? There were many at the time who wanted anybody rather than JMB.

    And for my vote, Ecclestone is the worst of the lot. I can never remember if it's money or power that corrupts. Either way, in F1 he has both....

    Me. I have no real favourites. I enjoy F1 for the sport it is - technology. Want to see good racing ? For the most part, watch another Formula. Want to see some of the worlds best drivers push 4 wheels to the limit ? Watch F1. Personally I'd drop 70% downforce and slap in another 300HP. That would be fun.

    But don't think for a minute that you will ever see good fair honest racing. As a good mechanic friend of mine in motor racing told me many many years ago, winning is all about 'exploiting the grey areas' (and he would know........) whether it's power, aeros, suspension et al

    There will never be an honest F1. Stop kidding yourselves, accept it and watch it for what it is. It's still great fun. But stop taking it all so seriously !

  • Comment number 79.

    Really disappointed that Todt got the presidency. Ari Vatanen is impartial, and Jean Todt has Ferrari running through his veins. He won't be able to be neutral.

    And another thing, why has everyone said he'd be a great president when Flavio Briatore has just been given a life-time ban for race fixing? What about Austria 2001 and 2002? Asking Rubens to move over and let Michael through to 2nd in 2001 and victory in 2002 at the last corner of the last lap? Isn't that race-fixing?

    Seems a bit hypocritical to me. More Ferrari bias???

  • Comment number 80.

    I never realised Todt was the only one who didn't want max ousted back in 2008.


    Not a fair statement that. We do not know whether Todt wanted him out or not. All we know is that he was unprepared to sign a letter that said he should be sacked for the sex scandal. That is not the same thing as it could be quite possible for Todt to want rid of Mosely but not be prepared to jump on the bandwagon and use an entirely personal situation to try and strongarm him out of a position that had nothing to do with the incident.

    To me that would mark Todt as somene who had principles.

  • Comment number 81.

    Wow... some (Brit) fans just hate the colour red... GROW UP... if it was Ron Dennis who had gotten the job, this board would look LIKE a poster for the saving of the world.

    And Andrew, please clarify this one... is F1 a team sport or about the one man driving a team car? Rubens signed a contract with Ferrari with his eyes open. No one is bigger than the game (or team, in this case). Surely Alonso's complaints about Macca favouring Hamilton also hold water then.

    What was so wrong about not signing the petition? Who in their right mind should remove a man from his job because he's done what most men dream of doing in their spare time? Did having sex with prostitutes make Max an incompetent leader? or is it nature of tabloids to have no shame?

    Thanks Max. It was always refreshing to see someone with a backbone, able to go against the tide. I know Todt will push the bar up even further

  • Comment number 82.

    More people to fall into the trap of thinking the FiA is the F1A. There is other 4 wheel Motorsport out there, yes, actually there is. Friday was a prime example – on the day the election result was announced, we were in the middle of day1 of RallyGB, yet not a mention. All because the FiA took their eye off the ball and allowed the WRC to fester. Also, the WTCC is hardly in rude health. Let’s hope Todt will remind Bernie who runs the sport….

  • Comment number 83.

    The customary compliment to Mosley that he acted decisively on safety is overdone, surely? He would have to have been a complete idiot not to take measures to improve F1's record after Imola. Anyone else in charge of the FIA would have been obliged to do the same, with the teams' encouragement. Anyone else would probably have conducted themselves better than him in almost every other respect.

    Still, F1 has always attracted its share of wide boys, fantasists and egomaniacs, some of them pretty smart - have there been more recently than in the past? Not sure.

  • Comment number 84.

    reetspetit you are a legend!
    love your comment, fresh and to the point.

    "But don't think for a minute that you will ever see good fair honest racing. As a good mechanic friend of mine in motor racing told me many many years ago, winning is all about 'exploiting the grey areas' (and he would know........) whether it's power, aeros, suspension et al

    There will never be an honest F1. Stop kidding yourselves, accept it and watch it for what it is. It's still great fun. But stop taking it all so seriously !"

    The BBC interview with Eddie Irvine a few months back said a similar thing. The current wave of PC in F1 is silly. F1 has always been about getting the upper hand over the opposition in any way possible. The human spirit is quite like that on many occasions.

    The person who really ruined F1 wasnt bernie (ok well maybe a little) or Max but a little known guy called John McRirick and the Tabloids he whote for at the time. He launched a massive crusade against 'results fixing' in F1 after the famous Hakkinen/couthard incident in Australia 1998. Before then Team orders were fine thank you after all it WAS a TEAM sport.

    Anyway dont stress too much over Todt. Back before his ferrari days he was sponsored by renault or some one else. could end up helping them. then again If his attractive wife fancies trying out F1 then he could favour her...who cares.

    I'm sure you will all find Ferrari does nothing next year cause Alonso will hate driving with/against Massa and start squabbling in the same way he did at McLaren. Shame.

    BTW. to the rest of the Peeps who are acting like bulls and hate the colour red, I and the rest of the F1 world was under the impression that at the start of the season there was an agreement between the teams that the 'Double diffuser' was not allowed. Yet this year's world champions, toyota and williams were allowed to race it. Where was Ferrari International Assistance then...

    ...Hmmm! That should stir up a little more controversy.


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