When Jean Todt announced he would be stepping down from the front line of the Ferrari Formula One team last year, I decided that there and then it had something to do with the impending change at the FIA. Todt had been mooted for the President’s role before, and with Max Mosley supposedly stepping down at the end of his current term next year, it would make sense for Todt to be out of the Ferrari limelight for a while.
Grandprix.com have an article up today suggesting a similar theory – apparently it’s doing the rounds in the Japanese paddock at the moment. They are suggesting that Jean Todt will resign from Ferrari altogether at the end of the month and take up a new role in the FIA soon after. Combined with the recent announcement that Marco Piccinini will stand down as the Deputy President in November, certain puzzle pieces seem to be falling a certain way.
However, there are many cats who could stir the pigeons, most notable of which is Mosley himself. Last year, Max had said that he intended to step down as president at the end of his term, but after everything that happened in April and May, it seems the ageing Briton has a new spring in his step and Mosley recently suggested he isn’t absolutely certain of what will happen in 2009. If Max were to stay though (and of course only at the urge of all these nameless people who write to him all the time), then it will likely be another four years before any change will happen. However, if Max were to be organising a way for him to get what he wants, then I can see Mosley stepping aside into a newly created position of power in the background.
Of course, the president is elected by the member organisations, but if only one man stands, and Mosley decides he doesn’t want to continue, then the vote is worthless. And currently, it seems to only be Todt who is being suggested as a possible successor. I had mooted a few other names previously, and Piccinini was one that kept constant in my mind. But with the Italian out of the picture and all others seemingly not bothering to show their hand, Mosley may be about to get his way. After all, Max has already offered his support to Todt should he wish to stand.
However, if Jean Todt were to become the next president of the FIA, then there will be an outcry from fans. Clearly the Frenchman has kept himself away from the media, toiling away in the background of the Ferrari company, but he will always be known as the man who helped orchestrate the rise in dominance of the Scuderia in the mid-nineties. And with Mosley himself feeling the need to defend the rumours that the FIA are biased towards the very same company, I can see the fans and team owners getting seriously annoyed.