Life is difficult for the FIA president Jean Todt. His son manages Jules Bianchi and Todt himself managed Michael Schumacher. Both drivers currently are suffering from severe head injuries and it’s not been an easy road for the Frenchman.
In an interview in La Gazzetta Sportiva via James Allen’s wonderful website, I was reminded at how difficult this must be for Todt being so close to both drivers.:
“I have to divide the thing in two: my responsibilities as President of the FIA and my feelings. I see my son devastated by the fact that someone he thinks of like a brother is in this situation,” Todt told La Gazzetta Sportiva.
“We should never take anything for granted and never relax on safety,” adds Todt. “I was saying it before Jules’ accident and I am saying it now. People have seen many years where terrible accidents happened and the driver walked away. They started to think that it is normal for a car to crash at 200km/h and for no-one to get hurt, But it was not normal, it was a miracle. Behind all of that has been an astonishing amount of work. But 100% safety in our sport does not exist”
Hindsight is no 20/20 because if it were, there would be no division post-event. The ability to look back on a situation that creates concern is contextual and many lives are impacted by both incidents involving Schumacher and Bianchi. Todt is among them and I was reminded to not take this situation lightly as the Accident Panel reviews all the data to determine the Bianchi crash and ways to possibly mitigate the chance of it happening in the future.
Todt has a personal and emotional involvement in this incident as he does with Schumacher and it is a good reminder to all of us that many of those chanting foul never knew either driver at the depth and emotional level as Todt does so I doubt he’s taken any of this lightly.
“The world is divided into 200 countries. Each has their own idea,” says Todt. “The reaction of the Italian media has been against, but in Germany it is different, the UK too. But as I say, let’s wait for the findings of the commission.”
As for Michael, he continues to struggle and there was a quote last week that was unfortunately misunderstood as to the current condition of the 7-time champion that Todt sets straight in this interview:
“I saw Michael three days ago. He has an amazing wife and family. The battle goes on. With him it’s a friendship, an affection. We suffered a lot together before we started winning that the closeness grew. And in moments of need you see your friends.”
He still fights and only time will reveal as to if Schumacher can make a recovery and live a life he once knew. Todt has the weight of two friends in serious condition and an investigation into the cause of one of these accidents. He has a regulatory body to run and safety to contend with. It’s not an easy job and perhaps some patience can be given for this very human side to the story.
Hat Tip: James Allen