Monthly Archives: July 2009

Is Brawn Buggered?!


28th July 2009 – Last week I made a bold prediction that if it was hot at Hungary then although Red Bull were favourites and have a better car, Brawn GP would win as they would be able to use their tyres better and would have better race pace. I was very wrong! To my shock and especially to Brawn themselves, they really struggled to look after their tyres. Although my prediction was that they would win, I also said that if Brawn failed to beat Red Bull at Hungary and Valencia (both are hot with tracks suited to Brawn’s car) then they would be in serious trouble for the rest of the season. As we saw in Hungary, they were not competitive at all, so are they are buggered for the rest of the season?

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The interview with Button after the race was very telling: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8169522.stm

Brawn believed the reason for their poor performance at Silverstone and the Nurburgring was down to it being cold and their car’s weakness at getting the tyre temperatures needed in those conditions and once they were back at warm circuits everything would be fine again. This, as we all saw, did not turn out to be the case. It is true that they struggle to get the tyre temperatures needed in cooler conditions compared to other teams, but in Hungary they were graining they tyres very quickly which is uncharacteristic of the nature of the car in the first half of the season.

As Button acknowledged in the interview, other teams have got better, but their own performance has got worse as their car is not as balanced and as good to drive as it was earlier in the season. Whether it is the new parts or something else, they have changed or moved away from the ‘sweet spot’ of their car’s optimum set up and in doing so they run a very real risk of losing the championship.

Ross Brawn admitted that Hungary “proved to be a very challenging weekend for the team which has left us with a number of questions to answer regarding the performance of the car. After a positive start on Friday where we felt that we had a good understanding of the tyres, they proved to be our main area of concern in the race today. Both drivers tried different strategies with their tyre choices but we were unable to prevent the graining which affected their pace at crucial stages of the race.”

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Brawn’s saving grace at the weekend was that McLaren and Ferrari put in excellent performances to beat the Red Bulls and as Vettel retired it meant only a third place and 6 points for Red Bull. Button’s lead in the championship dropped from 21 points to 18.5 points. If Button continues to lose 4 points a race for the remaining 7 races then he will definitely lose the championship. So Brawn has to improve or it’s all over!

Although Brawn does look doomed, they do have several factors working in their favour. As Red Bull are not favouring either driver, any points gained over Button and Brawn will be split between the drivers and so it could mean both Webber and Vettel could get extremely close, but neither one will pass Button in the championship.

Another area where I was very wrong in my prediction was the performance of McLaren and, in particular, Hamilton, who put in a fantastic performance and thoroughly deserved to win. Unlike Brawn, I was impressed with the way they looked after their tyres which did not seem to suffer much graining as compared to other teams. Ferrari also looked strong and if they can continue to take points away from Red Bull, Brawn is in with a chance, but they have to get their car balanced again and scoring some points.

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Valencia is just under 4 weeks away and they have some time to try to sort out their problem, but if they can’t do it at Valencia, then all they can do is keep their fingers crossed for McLaren, Ferrari and Williams to take points away from Red Bull. Maybe they can get Barrichello to take out Vettel or Webber in the race?! (shh… I didn’t say that).

So I was quite wrong in my predictions last week but one thing I am proud to say I did get bang on right was that it would be an exciting grand prix, qualifying and the race. It sure was!

Jake McMillan

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The Great Todt Conspiracy


27th July 2009 – Boy, do we love a good conspiracy?! We even love the bad ones and I’m afraid the Great Todt Conspiracy really isn’t that great at all, but will unfortunately be making blog fodder for some time to come. Actually, I’m being unfair, the story is of some interest, but is being blown completely out of all proportion and is currently providing excellent opportunity for us F1 “know-it-alls” to spout our opinion as if it were fact. However, the fact is none of us really know the truth and the likelihood is that the actual situation is probably quite dull and not the least bit salacious.

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The conspiracy and scandal is that the evil Lord Sith, Max Mosley, using the dark side of the force has manipulated and moulded his not-so-young apprentice, Darth Todt to take over as Emperor of the FIA. The shocking sensation is that, allegedly, the Empire has paid for Darth Todt to secretly campaign for his leadership whilst accompanying his lady-friend, Princess Yeoh, who is on official FIA Foundation business. This means that poor old not-yet-a-Jedi, Ari Vatanen-Skywalker doesn’t stand a chance in the up-coming election and he has publicly accused the Empire of corruption. The Empire strongly denies this, but all those in the Rebellion don’t believe it and are outraged at this pathetic cover up and want Vatanen-Skywalker to defeat Darth Todt in their head to head battle!

Enough of the fantasy, let’s assess what we really ‘know’ and whether it actually matters. This all kicked off with Max Mosley writing a letter to FIA Members on 15th July confirming again that he will not stand for re-election in October. In it he also stated that he felt Jean Todt would be the best man to take over and outlined his relevant experience and suitability for the role. He also highlighted the FIA Road Safety and environmental campaigns both Todt and his partner Michelle Yeoh had been involved in. Todt announced his candidacy the following day.

A lot of people believe it was wrong or inappropriate for Mosley to have made his recommendation in an official FIA communication as this suggests that the FIA is behind Todt and it won’t be an open and fair election. But is Mosley doing this so out of order and biased? It is important to remember that Mosley is not the whole FIA, just one man making his personal recommendation. He has been the FIA President for 16 years and is somewhat uniquely knowledgeable of what it takes to be FIA President and so his recommendation carries a lot of weight and something the FIA Members would probably want to hear. It was also a publicly made recommendation, not a secret telephone call or email which he could have easily done instead if he wanted to do something underhand.

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Let’s also check our interest in this FIA Presidency election. Why are we so bothered? We must remember that the FIA isn’t just about F1, that’s only a small part, its main purpose is to represent ‘the rights of motoring organisations and motor car users throughout the world via campaigns and activities that defend their interests. On issues such as safety, mobility, the environment and consumer law the FIA actively promotes the interests of motorists of the United Nations, within the European Union and through other international bodies.’ It also acts as the governing body for motorsport worldwide and administers the rules and regulations for all international 4-wheel motorsport including F1, World Rally Championship and World Touring Car Championship.

Also, we don’t even get a vote! the F1 Teams don’t get a vote, only FIA Members get to do this. The FIA is a non-profit making association which derives its income mainly from the annual subscriptions of its members. Its members are national motoring and sporting organisations around the word, e.g. in Great Britain the FIA Members are the AA, the RAC, Eurorap, the Camping and Caravanning Club,  the Caravan Club and the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

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Another point to clarify is that, despite what your personal views are of the man are, Max Mosley is well liked and approved of by FIA Members. He became President in 1993, re-elected in 1997, 2001 and in 2005. He has stood unopposed on each occasion as there has been no one else out there with his credentials and ability to challenge him. If he decided to stand again for re-election in October I would bet a lot of money that FIA Members would vote for him again. Some comment of Mosley that he is this evil power-obsessed puppet master that wants Todt to succeed him so he can still secretly be in control as he will retain a role on the FIA Senate. This is just plain ridiculous and the operation of the FIA does not work like that even if you still believe the 69 year old is desperate to still be in charge, that Todt is not a man of his own free mind and that FIA Members are so stupid that they will just do what they are told.

So, getting back to our story, Mosley as president of his FIA Club wrote to his members to confirm he was stepping down and recommended that he, personally, thought Jean Todt and his team would be best to take over. No big deal really. Has he conspired to make this all happen? Unfortunately the boring truth is that Todt has been eyeing up this role for some time now (he considered running in 2005) and has been positioning himself for several years, at least, to be ideally placed to make his campaign. Mosley may have even given him some advice on how best to go about it. So what?!

Well, our alleged hero, Vatanen-Skywalker was clearly upset that Mosley had given Todt his endorsement to FIA Members and felt that something corrupt was taking place. A few days later in a statement he famously said, “At the expense of the FIA Foundation, Jean goes with a private plane with his girlfriend, supposedly as a FIA representative, to various parts of the world, sometimes he has gone to Asia, sometimes to Canada, sometimes to Buenos Aires, whatever. In fact, he is doing a campaign totally supported and paid by the FIA”. It should be noted these comments were made about a week after saying his campaign would be about ‘finding solutions’ and not ‘personal attacks’’ It is also important to know that the FIA Foundation is not part of the FIA itself, but an independent UK charity managing and supporting an international programme of activities (e.g. promoting road safety) and was established in 2001 with a donation from the FIA.

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The Chairman of the FIA Foundation, Carlos Macaya, was clearly upset by Vatanen-Skywalker’s accusations and refuted them as strongly as he could. Todt’s partner, Michelle Yeoh has been, for over a year now, acting as global Ambassador for the Make Roads Safe campaign and in this role travels around the world. Macaya stated that Todt sometimes accompanies Yeoh on these trips when he also has legitimate business to attend to and gave the example of one these trips. He confirmed these trips have ‘nothing whatsoever to with the FIA, or recently announced election’ and added he was surprised at Vatanen’s comments as he is a Trustee of the FIA Foundation who would have been made fully aware of Yeoh and Todt’s activities some time ago.

This strong rebuttal, rather than halting the conspiracy, has only added fuel to the fire with members of the Rebellion asking whether Yeoh gets paid for her efforts and upset that Macaya only referred to one trip where both Todt and Yeoh had official business to attend to in the same place and that he did not provide expenses of all trips to back up his claim. Therefore, it is claimed, the FIA are paying for Todt to run his campaign.

Let’s be clear on this, it does not provide proof in any way of conflict of interest or that the FIA are paying for Todt to do his election campaigning. Firstly, Vatanen only referred to 3 trips in his short statement and then Macaya gave a longer reply and gave one example in some detail. Secondly, Macaya does not have to justify to us and provide expenses, however, the FIA Foundation (NOT the FIA) is a charity and reports to its Board of Trustees, of which Vatanen is a member! He knew about these activities for ages so why did he wait until now to say? He must have known Todt, like we all did, would be a fellow runner for the FIA Presidency. Also, as a Trustee he could demand to see expenses and prove his claim, but he hasn’t. Why not? Thirdly, none of these trips were made whilst Todt was an official candidate and Mosley only confirmed he would not re-stand a few weeks ago.

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The simple fact seems to be that Todt has wanted to be FIA President for some time so thought it would be a good idea to get involved in activities that would appeal to the FIA Membership. Common sense really! If I was going to stand as a local Councillor here in London, then I would start to get involved in local activities and get my name known in the community where voters were. It’s basic politics. It’s probably why Vatanen became a Trustee himself aswell. Todt has simply done a better job at getting involved with initiatives that are close to the hearts of the FIA Members.

Vatanen-Skywalker definitely seems to want to make changes and modernise the FIA, which I am sure appeals to many, but it seems the Paduan-learner still has a lot to learn about putting together a constructive campaign. He promised his campaign would not involve personal attacks, but that is all he seems to be doing. The actual solutions he proposes sound good, but his message is getting lost and the way he has conducted his campaign will have not impressed FIA Members and may have pushed those undecided towards Todt. However, there are 3 months to go and so I hope that both the campaigns are about issues and not making false accusations or personal attacks.

So, this whole conspiracy is really quite lame. One candidate called foul about an election most of us don’t even get a vote for and it has been rebuked and he has not followed up or tried to prove his claim.  There is no evil versus good fight, Todt is not an evil sith and Vatanen-Skywalker is not a Jedi. It’s all quite ordinary and mundane. If Todt turns out to be Vatanen’s father, then that will make it an interesting story!

Jake McMillan

Kovalainen, Where are you?!


23 July 2009 – Where on earth is Heikki Kovalainen? I had to double check to see if he actually has been racing this season. Turns out he has, but he’s been Mr Invisible and has not been seen doing anything  … good or bad. So far this year, he has retired from over half of the races, he came 12th in Bahrain, 14th in Turkey and scored 5 world championship points from a 4th place in a wet China and 1pt from Germany 2 weeks ago.  But McLaren is rubbish this season, so that explains his results doesn’t it?

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Teammate Lewis Hamilton has seemingly not done that much better with only 9 world champion points, but in a rubbish McLaren, this is almost twice as good as Kovalainen. Also, Mr Scherzinger may not have been scoring well but we have seen a lot of his driving this season, battling Alonso at Silverstone for example, and he even took the lead at the beginning of the German Grand Prix, albeit for about 0.1 secs.  So why hasn’t Kovalainen been performing better this season?

Could it just be that McLaren has not got a good car and Lewis is simply that much better than him? Some say that Hamilton’s great skill as a driver is to wrestle a performance out of a poor car and this is what explains the exaggerated difference between the two drivers this season. I don’t buy it, there is something going on with Kovalainen. He is not as good as his teammate but he is better than he is been performing.

Kovalainen is a ‘confidence driver’ who needs to get a lot of reassurance from the car to get the most out of it, whereas current drivers such as Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkonen have an inner self-confidence who have unwavering belief in their abilities no matter how the car drives. Kovalainen is a very self-critical driver and has been putting himself under too much pressure, possibly thinking that McLaren will prefer to get someone else in to replace him next season.

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Hungary will be a critical race for him as he needs to get his confidence back and I hope and believe he will. He won at the Hungaroring last year and the McLaren is a better car now so maybe we will see a good performance from him.This Sunday’s race is going to be very exciting and Qualifying will be especially tough for all drivers. If Kovalainen can get himself into the top 10 of Q2 then I think he will have a really good race, but if he doesn’t make it then he may end up crashing at the first corner desperately trying to make up places using his KERS button.

Jake McMillan

At Long Last! An exciting Hungarian Grand Prix!


21 July 2009 – Red Bull are the best team in Formula 1 at this very moment, but if it’s hot on Sunday Brawn GP will win the Hungarian Grand Prix. Although a long way to go in the Championship, the next 2 races in Hungary and the European Grand Prix at Valencia are critical to see if Jenson Button and Brawn GP can hold on to their lead. Both are expected be to relatively warm races and with it more ideal conditions for their car and, specifically, its tyres that really do not perform anywhere near its best in cooler conditions such as was the case at Silverstone and the Nürburgring.

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So … this means if they can’t get good results in Hungary and Spain, then they are unlikely to be able to do so for the rest of the season. The Hungaroring circuit is a high downforce track which Brawn GP have proven to be good at, so if it’s hot, I believe they will win.

Ross Brawn, in an interview posted on their team’s web site, stated that, “the last two races at Silverstone and the Nürburgring have been frustrating for the team as we have not been able to achieve the full potential of our car at the same time as our competitors have taken a good step forward.” He continued that their car was still a very good car, “we have a significant aerodynamic upgrade for the race in Budapest which will bring performance gains in efficiency, downforce and aero balance but we face a fierce battle and we must continue to improve for the rest of the season.”

The Hungarian Grand Prix which is normally the dullest race of the season as no one can really overtake there, could end up being the most competitive and exciting race of the season as the conditions and track will mean that several, no let’s say many, teams will have a genuine chance of standing on the podium.

Brawn GP, as I’ve said, are my tip to win if it’s hot (BBC weather forecast is currently predicting a sunny 27⁰). Red Bull, of course, are the favourites and Webber and Vettel are locked in a titantic and increasingly intense battle to not only catch Button, but to take the lead and grab the edge within their own team.

Ferrari will fancy their chances as they have been making steady improvements and produced very good pace in Germany and did very well at the last high downforce race, in Monaco.  Massa has been showing good form and I think Raikkonen is about to, as Mr Brundle likes to say so often, ‘pull one out of the bag’.

As much as I feel McLaren have made significant improvements and have a much better car, its race pace is not quite there and the car has been astonishingly poor in its high downforce set up. But, I am not going to rule out Hamilton, particularly in qualifying.

Williams are really doing quite well and I think are going to get on a podium very soon, but I don’t think it will be Hungary, but they will be right up there in the thick of it all.

Qualifying may very well be more exciting than the race … you must not miss it! Q2 is going to be on a knife edge as getting into that top 10 is going to be oh so tough. Q3 will be interesting as the team’s will not know how risky to make their strategy as they will probably want to have a long first stint, but will still want to be at the front of the grid. It’s going to be very interesting! Never thought I would be so enthusiastic about the Hungarian Grand Prix?!

My prediction (if it’s hot):

1st – Jenson Button – Brawn GP

2nd – Felipe Massa – Ferrari

3rd – Mark Webber – Red Bull

Rubens Barrichello and Sebastien Vettel will crash into each other.

Sutil in Force India will finally get some thoroughly deserved points.

Jake McMillan

Webber Vs Vettel – Button will be the Winner?


18th July 2009 – Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner, confirmed after the German Grand Prix that he will not favour either of his driver’s unless one become’s a clear title contender. “We will continue to support both drivers equally” stated the 35 year old Brit, “If and when we reach a point where there is a significant gap, or it becomes mathematically impossible for one of them to challenge for the Championship, then they are both team players and one of them will play a supporting role should it be required”.

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Jenson Button currently has a commanding lead in the championship with 68 points with German Sebastien Vettel in second place on 47pts and Australian Mark Webber only 1.5pts behind with 45.5. However, with 8 races still to go, anything really could happen. As Webber and Vettel are so tightly matched it could mean that no team orders will ever come into play, but could this be at the cost of the Drivers world title? One gets the impression from Horner that winning the Constructor’s Championship is more do-able and so more of a priority.

This opens once again the debate of giving equal treatment to two drivers, like McLaren famously do, or the approach of having a favoured driver like Schumacher at Ferrari. In 2007 McLaren won the Constructor’s Championship with both drivers finishing on equal points, only a single point behind the Champion, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. If McLaren had decided earlier in the season to impose team orders and ask one of the drivers to support the other, one of their drivers could have been World Champion. The F1 Driver’s World Championship title is much more revered than the Constructor’s Championship. Do most fans really care or notice who wins this? Take 2006 for example, are people more likely to remember Alonso in his Renault winning his second World Championship or Ferrari winning the Constructor’s Championship?

This is all great news for the increasingly nervous Button who sees a Red Bull car capable of dominating for the rest of the season. If Red Bull don’t impose team orders and win the Constructor’s Championship but Button wins the Drivers’ Championship, will they be happy with that? Button and Brawn GP definitely will be happy. However, if Red Bull picked a driver to favour now, they would have a good chance of winning both the Drivers and Constructor’s championship? But this would need the other driver to play ball and even if they have a contract stipulating such orders, it does not necessarily mean the driver will stick to it.

The drivers are so closely matched that it is impossible to pick one that is more likely to win or expect the other to respect the order to play second fiddle which is all great news for us as it’s going to make for some very interesting races! Both are desperately trying to win every little battle in practice, qualifying and in the race. They know that any tiny advantage eked out now could rally the whole team around them. Vettel seems to have a slight edge over Webber in qualifying and raw speed, certainly at the beginning of the season, but so far Webber has appeared to be more the racer and has been more effective in overtaking, but it is too close to call it between them.

This is excellent news for Button who will happily see them take points off each other to slow their pursuit of his lead. It also means that in any 50:50 encounters with either of them, Button knows that they will not want to take any undue risks as if they take themselves and Button off it will give the clear advantage to the other driver and their season may be over.

Jake McMillan

Would you have sacked Bourdais?


July 17 2009 – Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais has responded to his sacking yesterday by the Scuderia Toro Rosso team by saying he is not only ‘shocked’ and ‘disappointment’ but that he feels the team are in ‘clear violation’ of the team’s contractual obligations and has his lawyers investigating if there is a case to take to court. Without knowing the actual contract details it is impossible to ascertain if Bourdais has a case or not, but it is irrelevant as whatever the outcome the 30 year old will not be driving a F1 car again this year and probably not ever again. If you were the boss of Torro Rosso, Franz Tost, would you have sacked Bourdais? And if yes, would you have done it now or wait until the end of the season?

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Tost explained his decision, “Sebastien’s second year with us has not met our expectations. Therefore we have decided to replace him from the next round of the world championship, the Hungarian Grand Prix.” The replacement driver has not been announced but it is widely expected that Spain’s British F3 champion and the new reserve driver for Toro Rosso, Jaime Alguersuari , will be brought in to partner Swiss  Sebastien Buemi. In 2008 Bourdais was completely dominated by German Sebastien Vettel in his rookie year and this year he has not been a match for F1 newbie Buemi. He has not delivered at all on his great potential and so has to go, right?

Bourdais came into Formula One with a lot of promise having won the Champ Car title four years in a row (2004-2007) with the Newman/Haas team, the first driver ever to accomplish such a feat.  He was F3000 Champion in 2002 and was even offered a F1 drive by Arrows for the 2003 season but they unfortunately went bankrupt. He moved to America and was phenomenally successful in Champ Cars, producing an incredible winning percentage of 42.4%, winning 31 races from 73 starts. Even if you don’t consider Champ Car to be anywhere near the same calibre as F1, this is still a mightily impressive performance. Toro Ross must have had such high expectations when he signed up for them in 2008.

It wasn’t just that Vettel blew him away scoring 35 points to Bourdais’s 4 points, it was that Bourdais never seemed to get to grips with his car and did not imbed himself into the Toro Rosso team in the way he had done at Newman/Haas in the US. The Toro Rosso was not the best car, but Vettel was comfortable and at very much at home with the car to be able to get the most of out it, to push it to its limits and in doing so even managed to win the race at Monza in Italy. Vettel qualified in pole for that race and Bourdais three places behind in 4th, but by the end of the race Bourdais was 18th and over a lap behind his teammate.

So the pressure for Bourdais to perform was definitely on in 2009 but he had a year of F1 under his belt, he knew the team and would have a new rookie teammate racing next to him. He would have spent the winter preparing mentally and physically and the first race in Australia started off reasonably well with both cars scoring points as Bourdais finished 8th and Buemi a place ahead in 7th. This has been Toro Rosso’s best race so far of the season and Buemi has out-performed his teammate scoring a total of 3 world championship points to Bourdais’s 2 points. However, it is in qualifying that Bourdais has really struggled with his inexperienced teammate starting higher up the grid no less than 7 times of the 9 races.

So would you have sacked Bourdais? Absolutely! As a team owner up against fierce competition and strong commercial pressures striving to get results and repeat any of the success of last year, you would say you have given Bourdais a good chance but it has not worked out. It is a logical decision and the right decision. However, would you have done it now? Is there an advantage into bringing someone new into the team? Or could he just not handle another year of 2 drivers called Sebastien?!

Unless the person being brought in has a lot more experience and potential than Bourdais, then what is the point of bringing in someone new mid-way through the season? Alguersuari is the reserve driver but has only been there a matter of days and is completely new to the team, the car and F1. He will take some time to get up to speed and there is no particular likelihood that he will outperform Buemi’s results. Perhaps Toro Rosso are thinking about 2010 and rather than bring in a rookie then, they can have a driver who has had half a season under his belt and acclimatised to the world of F1. They can also evaluate if he is any good and has potential.

I feel sorry for Bourdais as he must not understand why he has not performed in F1 like he has done at other levels of motor racing and must know his F1 career is now over. Tost was right to sack him, but I think it has not been handled as well as it could be (can it ever be handled well?!) and perhaps giving Bourdais a clearer ultimatum of needing to get results by a certain race, say the Belgium Grand Prix, would have been more productive and fairer as this would still give 5 races to anyone new coming in.

Jake McMillan

Todt as next FIA President a Sure Thing!


16th July 2009 – Today, and to no surprise in the world of Formula 1, former Ferrari head honcho Jean Todt, 63, has announced he will be standing for presidency of the FIA when Max Mosley stands down in October.  He will be up against former world rally champ Ari Vatanen, but it is almost a foregone conclusion that Jean will be the next FIA President. This is not to any detriment of Vatanen, but Todt’s credentials, political acumen and recent movements show that he has positioned himself perfectly to take over the helm from Mosley later in the year.

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The way Todt transformed the fortunes of Ferrari was hugely impressive as he not only secured the services of such talents such as Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne, but perhaps more significantly he really galvanised what was an almost pitiful and not very successful group of individuals into a consistently winning and high performing team and his legacy still continues. In the last 10 years, Ferrari has won the Constructors’ World Championship an astonishing 8 times. This is no fluke.

Ferrari is not an easy team to be involved with at the best of times as it has such motor racing pedigree and heritage that there is such an expectation that anything less than winning is simply not good enough. Most teams would probably say this applies to them too, but Ferrari is simply in another league in this regard. With the massive investment and financial resources made available to the team comes enormous expectation, endless scrutiny and the level of politics that only Italy can provide. Jean Todt has not only survived but excelled in this environment and he has done it in it in a remarkably understated way that contradicts the classic stereotypical French and Italian manner. Those familiar with F1 will know that he always appeared so calm and in control and when confronted with the most poisonous of media questioning he handles it with aplomb, so measured and unflappable.

Todt had been rumoured to take Mosley’s place as far back as 2004 and to keep his services Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo promoted him from F1 Team Principal to CEO of Ferrari’s entire operation including normal car production as well as the racing team. Stefano Domenicali took over as Ferrari Team Principal and he remained as CEO until he resigned in March this year, leaving Ferrari completely. This makes him ideally placed to make a bid for the FIA Presidency and Max Mosley has commented that he feels Todt would make an excellent FIA President and, of course, Italy and Ferrari will have his total support.

Todt comes across as quiet and unassuming and one suspects he is unlikely to bring the scandal that Max Mosley unfortunately generated in his tenure, but this is not to say the Frenchman is without any controversy or tabloid excitement. He is engaged to the beautiful and talented actress Michelle Yeoh but it has hardly been a big story.  However, last month he had been accused of taking a payment from the Malaysian government to promote tourism, something that Todt strongly denies and insists he is a tourism Ambassador and this is purely a voluntary role. Again, this is not really a big story but some may try to make more it given his declaration to become FIA President.

Max Mosley is in a great position to judge appropriate candidates and he is clearly convinced. “I believe the right person to head that team would be Jean Todt,” he added. “Jean is unquestionably the outstanding motor sport manager of his generation and arguably of any generation.” Can you think of someone better suited?

Jean Todt will be the next FIA President.

Jake McMillan