Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

FIA gives Jean Todt a third term as president: Innovation the name of the game

Jean Todt was re-elected as president of the FIA at the General Assembly in Paris today and promised to put Innovation at the heart of his final fo...

FIA gives Jean Todt a third term as president: Innovation the name of the game

Jean Todt was re-elected as president of the FIA at the General Assembly in Paris today and promised to put Innovation at the heart of his final four years in the role.

The 71 year old will establish an Innovation Fund to encourage fresh ideas and new thinking across the motorsport and mobility sectors.

One idea that has been brought in for 2018 F1 season and is likely to receive some push back from fans is the 'halo' head protection system for the F1 cars. Many teams and drivers are unhappy about its appearance as are many fans, but Todt and his safety staff insist that it is here to stay and that everyone will get used to it in time.

The FIA is engaged in a process with F1's owners Liberty Media of shaping the sport and its product from 2021 onwards. This involves deciding what changes to make to the power unit regulations, how to introduce and police some kind of budget cap and also to define the aerodynamic regulations so that the cars car race each other closely on track.

There is a tough negotiation ahead, particularly on the Liberty side over money. Todt has shown over the first two terms of his presidency that he is inclined to be "hands off" when it comes to F1, which has frustrated some senior paddock figures, who would have preferred him to confront some of the issues head-on. In that sense he has been unlike his predecessor Max Mosley; preferring instead to intervene when necessary.

Whereas the relationship between the FIA and the commercial rights holder was quite dysfunctional in the days when Bernie Ecclestone held the role opposite Todt, the signs so far are that Liberty and the FIA are well aligned on many issues and there is a constant two way dialogue between St James' Market, London and Geneva.

"From time to time there are some who challenge this role, and I remind them that Motor Sport will always need a regulator, it will always need fair play, it will always require ethics, and it will always need an independent referee," said Todt in his acceptance speech. "This is the vital role the FIA plays and one it will continue to play in the future."

Earlier this year in an interview I did with Todt, I pointed out that he was the 'last man standing' - in a day to day role - out of that group of F1 powerbrokers, who dominated the sport in the 1990s and 2000s; Montezemolo, Ecclestone, Dennis, Briatore, Williams.

"It is true, in a way I am proud to be able to compete for 50 years in motor racing in different categories and with some good achievements.

“Remaining humble, I think in a way they were essential for me and I was essential for them,” says Todt. “Mainly for one, di Montezemolo. I think he probably took the risk of hiring me but I think he got something back. Again, life has to be a good balance.

"And the same with Bernie – he needed Ferrari, it is the biggest name in motor racing, so you need to have a strong Ferrari to create interest. And Bernie was nice enough to believe in me and I think I have demonstrated that I did not disappoint him.”

“The most difficult period to assess and to judge is the most recent one because when you are a competitor you are first, second, tenth, retired, good or bad.

“Here (as FIA president) it is very difficult to assess the job you do. It is much less rational but it happens in a lot of activities. That’s probably the good thing about racing, because you see the result. Here you have fights or competitions but they are judged in a different way.”

What would you like to see Jean Todt do with regards to F1 in his next presidency? Leave your comments in the section below

shares
comments
Todt re-elected FIA president for third and final term

Previous article

Todt re-elected FIA president for third and final term

Next article

Hamilton: Hungary motivated me to beat Bottas "every single time"

Hamilton: Hungary motivated me to beat Bottas "every single time"
Load comments
Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement Prime

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man Anthony Peacock explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it).

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Prime

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Prime

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looks back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Prime

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021