There is no mystery that I am a Michael Schumacher fan. Always have been. This admiration I have for Schumacher does not always mean I am in total agreement with everything he says, does or endorses and I am sure he couldn’t care less if I do. Such is the case with the FIA/Mosley/Todt attempt to wheel him out in front of the member clubs via a personal letter endorsing his long-time friend Jean todt for president.
I think it is shameful how current president Max Mosley has endorsed Todt on FIA letterhead and even went as far as writing threatening letters to member clubs about supporting Vatanen. To say that Vatanen will lose big in the election and that clubs who supported him will not be forgotten is just base behavior at the highest level.
Now it seems they are pressing all the panic buttons by having Todt himself attempt to debase Vatanen this week by accusing him of running a negative campaign and today Schumacher sends a glowing endorsement to member clubs seeking support for Todt.
“I know that there are some people who say that Jean’s presidency would be a continuation of Max’s leadership,” he said.
“I can only tell these people that they do not know Jean. He has his own expert knowledge, his own agenda and his own leadership style. From my experience he will implement his plans for the FIA in his own way, as a team player.”
“Since I stopped driving in Formula 1, I have followed the sport very closely and have read a lot of stories which have done our sport much harm,”
“Having worked for the FIA and FIA Foundation on many projects for more than a decade, I may also claim that I am very familiar with the FIA.
“This is why I deeply feel it is time for some changes, but these changes must be managed carefully by someone as skillful as Jean who has formed the right team of people to on the one hand appreciate the great achievements of the FIA and on the other hand really make change happen.”
“His characteristics such as leadership, loyalty, commitment and knowledge are beyond question, but in my view his outstanding skill is the encouragement of teamwork. In my active racing days I have experienced his willingness to share and delegate to a great and successful extent,” he said.
“In many conversations we have had recently I have understood how detailed and thoughtful Jean’s policy programme is. I have also understood that he will bring about the many changes he is preparing for in his very own way: through building consensus with all of the many stakeholders; rather than through confrontation. He will work as part of a team of experts, for the benefit of the world of sport and mobility.”
Now Schumacher is certainnly closer to Todt than most everyone and I appreciate his endorsement for his friend. Todt is a good guy and a great organizer but I think the FIA needs more than that. Todt is now making every effort to suggest that he will change the FIA and this comes after he explicitly said he would not change things.
Vatanen using is simply using Todt’s own words to show that he plans on continuing the fine work of Max Mosley and when Mosley’s reputation has become the lead weight around Todt’s neck; only then do we get a mandate for change from the Frenchman’s camp.
I received a timely email this morning from our F1B regular Danny K. who reminded me, very astutely, that Todt’s perceived bias to Ferrari is not the only thing worth mentioning. World Rally is a huge part of motor sport and Todt got his beginning int he 80’s in that very sport. Was very tied to Peugeot and as a member of the PSA Group, as well as Citroen, it could be argued that Todt may have a natural bias towards those teams as well.
It’s not hard science but you could certainly see where Todt has been steeped in motor sport to a point that many can’t see a way of remaining unbiased. Todt’s original answer to the bias question is that he would put a person in between himself and the series but if it takes another head and payroll expense to mitigate your bias; I think I would just prefer a person with no bias and save the cash.
Either way, it is an important election and we urge you to contact your local FIA affiliated motoring group and demand they vote for Ari Vatanen. Jean Todt is not a bad guy by any stretch of the imagination. I have tremendous respect for him and his abilities; I just think Vatanen is a better choice for change we need and parity within a critical organization that represents the regulatory body of so many motor sport series.
A link to Schumacher’s letter is below: