To all FIA Member Clubs
Geneva, 15 July 2009
Since my announcement on 24 June that I was not going to seek re-election, I have received almost 100 messages from FIA member clubs urging me to think again. This absolutely unprecedented level of support is very rewarding and I am deeply grateful.
Following the World Motor Sport Council meeting on 24 June, we were expecting to extend the 1998 Concorde Agreement with a few minor amendments. In the event, we received a completely new draft. However, after three weeks of intensive negotiations (including weekends and evenings), Nick Craw, (as deputy president, sport) and I feel that, with the help of our lawyers, we have negotiated an agreement which brings to Formula One the new teams and lower costs which were so urgently needed.
At the same time, again largely thanks to Nick, we now have very satisfactory contracts for the World Rally Championship and the new World Championship for GT cars. In addition, a new structure is evolving on the mobility side which I believe will greatly strengthen the FIA in this area.
From a personal point of view it would be very difficult for me to change my mind and stand again. I began some months ago to rearrange my family life with effect from next October. I also informed senior FIA staff that I would not be a candidate. To continue now would greatly complicate my domestic arrangements and be inconsistent with my obligations to my family, particularly after our recent loss. Also, I have felt for some time that I would like to work less. After all, I will be 70 next year.
Therefore, with these new arrangements in place, extremely grateful though I am for all the letters, emails and messages I have received, I have decided to reconfirm my decision. I will not be a candidate in October.
I believe the objectives of those who have been kind enough to support me can be achieved if you elect a strong, experienced, competent team, one which will maintain the independence of the FIA and ensure that both the sport and the mobility side are properly run. As an ex officio member of the Senate, I hope to play a modest role myself.
I believe the right person to head that team would be Jean Todt.
Jean is unquestionably the outstanding motor sport manager of his generation and arguably of any generation. Teams run by him have won the World Rally Championship, Cross Country rallies including Paris-Dakar, the Le Mans 24 Hour Race and, in the last 15 years, one Formula One World Championship after another.
He has also been CEO of a successful car manufacturer. He thus has experience in charge of a large and complex organisation, something which is an essential qualification for any future president of the FIA. From his road car experience, he has a thorough understanding of the unseen but vital work of the FIA away from the race track and the special stage.
Most recently he has been involved with his partner Michelle Yeoh in FIA road safety and environmental campaigns all over the world, thus demonstrating a commitment to the major public policy initiatives which are such an important part of the FIA’s work.
Finally, I must emphasise he would not in any way be a motor industry candidate. He would have no special relationship with his former company, Ferrari, nor with Peugeot Citroen, the manufacturer behind his former World Rally, Cross-Country and Le Mans teams. He would preserve the independence of the FIA.
If he agrees to stand, I think he would be the ideal person to continue but also to extent the work of the past 16 years. He can be relied on in all ares where the FIA is active. I very much hope you will give him your support.
Finally, thank you once again for your support and for the trust you have placed in me. I have enjoyed the last 16 years as president of the FIA and I believe that together we have made much progress with an organisation of which we can all be proud.