Former Ferrari principal Jean Todt has won the election to become the FIA’s next president, beating Ari Vatanen with 135 votes to 49. Max Mosley, who has presided over the organisation since 1993 decided to not run again earlier in the year after controversial measures were intended to be implemented which caused great unrest among the Formula One teams. Needless to say a change is welcome, but it may not be a popular victory among motor sport fans.
Ari Vatanen had been a favourite among motor sport fans, the former rally driver promising to shake-up the FIA and make the organisation more transparent. However, Todt had received the backing of the outgoing president and was even said to have been a good candidate for Mosley succession way back in 2005.
The election, held at the FIA’s headquarters in Paris, was supervised by an external Huissier de Justice, the French state-appointed public witness. There were 12 abstentions or invalid votes and Todt’s victory was a comfortable one.
The news of Vatanen’s defeat will undoubtedly cause many fans of motor sport to be upset, many feeling that Todt is unsuitable for the role given his public support from Mosley and his former ties with Ferrari. The FIA has been accused in the past of favouring Ferrari and Bernie Ecclestone even admitted that the Scuderia receive benefits (both monetary and in the deciding of new rules). Although Todt has long been resigned from his post of team principal at Ferrari and recently resigned from the company entirely, many will still feel uncomfortable at his appointment.
Despite claims that Todt may fail to shake-up the FIA and will merely continue in the vein of his predecessor, the Frenchman does have a lot of experience in motor sport, primarily Formula One and World Rally. It was Todt who helped rejuvenate Ferrari into a dominant force that won many titles in the late ’90s and early ’00s, and his management style has received considerable praise. The Ferrari company was named by the Financial Times as the best company in Italy to work for in terms of employee satisfaction in 2008.
While many of us fans may have been hoping for a more radical change at Place de la Concorde, we should allow Todt some time to settle in to his new role before making judgments. The president of the FIA does not just deal with motor sport and much of the organisation’s aim is to improve motoring for the general public the world over. Of course, Formula One is at the forefront of their operations though, the international sport garnering much of the headlines that involve the FIA.
We shall have to wait and see how Todt deals with the pressures of being the president, but despite trying to offer the man a chance, I feel the Internet-at-large is about to get a little crazy. But before we all get hysterical, let us remember one very important rule that has just come into force: the president of the FIA may now only preside for two terms at the very most. Something I’m sure we will all agree on as being a very good idea.
You know, a year ago I would have been livid. But, this year saw all the teams work well together and Ferrari seemed to support FOTA nicely. I am not thrilled with Todt, but I want to give him a chance. Maybe he will be great for the sport.
That picture fits SO perfectly with this article. It has the FIA in the foreground and the Ferrari trailer in the reflection.
I am very pleased with this election, and I know Jean is going to proove you wrong.
Somebody wrote it is like having a poacher turned into the gamekeeper, and I like this as it reflects exactly what I think now being the gamekeeper the guy knows all the tricks… Besides I think Todt has another agenda, FIA is not only about F1 you will considerably underestimate him if you believe he took the job to set his rules in F1.
… And Ari was a real amateur (surprising for an ex-MEP!) nobody will EVER win an election by alienating the voters saying they are corrupted and taking (almost) the organisation he wants to be the president to Court. My explanation is that MEP are elected on a list and don’t have to fight a real battle like an MP do…
However we will see in the future what Jean achieves, and what Ari is going to do, I am pretty sure a real democrat like himself does not bother working -even in the opposition- for the good of the institution…
But (as we say in french) my little finger tells me the man is going to disappear. Frankly I hope I am wrong, but we’ll see….
Hehe, it wasn’t chosen by accident.
I truly hope he will be okay as president. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I really do hope he can lead the FIA down a path that is more open and transparent.
I thought you might have been. 😀
Nope, as mentioned in the article, F1 is only the tip of the iceberg. However, it is the area of the FIA that gains the most headlines, and therefore a good vehicle to promote other causes the organisation deals with.
As I and a few others have said, I hope Todt works out okay and I am more than willing to give him time to settle in. I don’t think he is there purely to set his own rules for F1 or any other motor sport the FIA governs, I only really thought that of Todt’s predecessor.
However, I really hope Todt listens to those around him, the F1 teams and too a certain extent, the fans (when it comes to F1, obviously). I hope he opens up the FIA and welcomes scrutiny. Instead of slamming the gavel down whenever somebody dares to speak out of turn, I hope he sits down, listens and involves himself in a constructive discussion rather than toss aside and march forever forwards with his own agenda.
We can only wait and see…
Apologies for off-topic comment…
There will be no coverage of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on BlogF1 due to my laptop having a few personal issues. More details on Prodrivel (also my comment made today), but needless to say, very sorry about this n’all. I will be watching the race on the funny thing that is collecting dust in the corner of my living room… what’s-it-called… the TV! But I shall not be blogging or being at all active for the next 5-7 days.
I have just realised how much of my life depends on having access to a computer and the Internet 24/7/365…
Ollie it looks like this blog is not your thing anymore… We need your posts.. come on!
… Jean is a team’s player his main strength is to put the right men in the right places (he’s done just that for more than 30 years, with Peugeot first, then with Ferrari) and to negociate with a cool head. On top of that he is not after money or power. I believe the future looks bright for the FIA and for our sport.
Oh it is, mostly. It’s just that on Friday evening my laptop had to be sent off to get its graphics card replaced. It failed on Tuesday or Wednesday, so currently I’m computerless until probably about Thursday or Friday next week. 🙁
Bye, bye, Vatanen!
I am gutted to not be blogging this weekend. The Yas Marina complex looks amazing, although I think the track may produce a Valencia type race. We shall see though. The lights are about to go out.
Will the Yas Marina Circuit become the futures version of a classic track? Pretty amazing to see, a pretty amazing place and the actuall track is ripe with most everything that the best parts of other tracks are.
I recently looked at the site in South Korea and that it also looks very interesting.
Seems like Bernie and piles of money has and will forever change what Grand Prix racing is and more so how different it will appear in the near future.
I like what I am seeing but wonder if at some point we will miss the great classic race venues as future interest and the all mighty dollar will impact sport.
My first choice to see another Grand Prix is and will still be Spa.
[…] forward and spoken publicly about the sport his federation governs. Since succeeding Max Mosley in last November’s election, Todt has remained relatively quiet, choosing instead to work on other matters concerned by the […]