22… Jean Todt
In October, the much awaited vote for the Presidency of the FIA was held behind closed doors at the Associations headquarters in Paris. Two candidates had contested the post which would become vacant on the retiral of outgoing President Max Mosley; they were former Ferrari Team Principal Jean Todt and ex World Rally Champion, Ari Vatanen. As part of their campaigns, both candidates had to produce a manifesto and list of 22 members who endorsed their candidature.
Although Todt’s campaign had been given the backing of the outgoing president, Vatanen was seen as the fans choice. Would the members of the FIA agree when the vote was cast? As always seems to be the case in Formula One, nothing is ever straight forward as each of the candidates had their own personal hiatus along the way. First off it was Vatenen who had claimed that Todt’s campaign was being funded by the governing body.
“I want to nominate commissioners because I am not intending to run Formula One as a first person. I don’t want to underestimate the problems but success in my career has always been to have the right people in my teams.”
- Jean Todt
Todt, accompanied by his girlfriend, the actress Michelle Yeoh an ambassador for the “Make Roads Safer” campaign had travelled to Africa abroad a private jet funded by the FIA. Vatanen was later censured by the governing body for misleading comments.
In Todt’s case, he received criticism after asking “Do you think people in South Africa care what is happening in F1?”. The Managing Director of Motorsport South Africa’s governing body, Beaulah Schoeman said that the Frenchman had showed “arrogance and contempt”.
In the end the votes were cast and Todt had scored a resounding victory with 135 votes to Vatanen’s 49 votes whilst 12 members’ votes were invalid or abstentions. Todt had won on a manifesto based on 5 key areas, only time will tell whether his ideas will prove to be good for motorsport…
Day 22 of the advent calendar season review.