Jean Todt Grabs the Wheel of Formula One
The vote is in and the people of Formula One have spoken. Jean Todt is the new head of FIA after a not-so-close vote of the FIA General Assembly in Paris on Friday and he’ll take the place of departing President Max Mosley. Politics is a cruel ground to tread and apparently Jean was the darling child of Max and received his support in his bid to be the next President of Formula One’s governing body. This left Todt’s closest rival for the job, Ari Vatanen, on the outside looking in apparently, and helped to determined the next President of FIA.
Born in Pierrefort, France, Jean Todt isn’t a beginner in Formula One having helped Michal Schumacher achieve five world championships as team principal for Ferrari back in those days. A successful student at the School of Economics and Business in Paris, he enjoyed a racing career behind the wheel of a rally car and was reasonably successful in the period from 1966 to 1981, with a highlight of his racing career being a manufacturers title in collaboration with Talbot Lotus.
Once he decided to hang his racing gloves up, he slipped into the seat of the director of racing activities for Automobiles Peugeot. He started and helped Peugeot Talbot Sport team win two world rally constructors’ crowns, two world rally drivers crowns and drive away victorious four times in the Paris-Dakar competition. The racing bug still causing an itch, he next helped to win the world sports car title in 1992, along with the Le Mans 24 Hour competition in 1992 and 1993 as director of sporting
After retiring from competition in 1982 he was appointed director of racing activities for Automobiles Peugeot, where he founded the Peugeot Talbot Sport team, which went on to win two world rally constructors’ championships, two world rally drivers’ championships and four Paris-Dakar victories. In 1990, Todt became director of sporting activities at the PSA Peugeot-Citroen Group, which won the world sports car title in 1992 plus the Le Mans 24 Hour race in ‘92 and ‘93.
He next helped Ferrari to win 98 Grand Prix races and 13 world championships as Chief Executive Officer of Ferrari, before spending six years as the representative of rally drivers to the rally commission of the FISA and then thirteen years representing the opinion of the rally constructors.
The last sixteen years he was Ferrari’s spokesperson on the FIA World Council, before recently working as special advisor to Ferrari’s board chairman and then deciding he would retire. Apparently retirement wasn’t all he thought it was going to be and he was decided to throw his knowledge and experience into the ring. Considering his experience this is certainly a welcome decision. After all, sometimes old warriors don’t ride into the sun, sometimes they stay around to lend a helping hand and their knowledge to the fight.
“Image: Zuma Press”