F1’s major team principals appeared to come out in support of Jean Todt today when asked about David Ward’s challenge for the FIA Presidency.
They admitted that they didn’t know enough about Ward’s manifesto – which was released today – but the consensus was that continuity would be good, and that the lack of controversy under Todt’s leadership has been an improvement compared with previous eras.
Such a view is perhaps inevitable – in public at least – especially as two of them worked closely with Todt at Ferrari.
“I think that in Formula One it’s important to proceed with stability and continuity – it’s one of the things that we are always missing,” said Stefano Domenicali. “So, I believe that what is important to keep as a relation with the FIA is this kind of thing, and so therefore I would like to see this happening – but of course it is not us that will decide that.”
“I don’t know David Ward well enough and I haven’t had time to look at his manifesto so I really can’t comment on him,” said Martin Whitmarsh. “I think Jean – and clearly I don’t know Jean as well as some of the people here – but I have to say taking him as the President, I think he has not used this sport for his own ego, which I think is very tempting. I won’t go back into the past, but I’ve seen and survived so far three presidents – only just, one of them – but I think Jean has acted in the interests of motorsport.
“I think for some people there hasn’t been enough commotion, action, controversy around him. Those are good in some people’s minds, but I think for those of us that participate in the sport, having some consistency, someone who takes decisions that are in the interests of the sport quietly and efficiently is very beneficial. We don’t influence the outcome, but I think Jean has done a good job so far, and we’ll see if he’s successful at continuing to be the President.”
“Obviously I know Jean very well, having worked together for 10 years,” said Brawn. “I think stability and consistency are very important. I think Jean has taken a quiet line, particularly in terms of Formula One and that – as Martin said, those of us who have experienced the other end of the scale – is welcome.
“And I think the opportunity to do another period as a president of the FIA is important, that we have that continuity. I think Jean has stabilised the situation and now wants to move on to progress things and I know the huge commitment he makes to the sport overall. We are part of motorsport but there’s a huge amount of other things going on that he’s active in. And I think the continuity is very important.”
Christian Horner made the point that Todt has yet to formally confirm that he will challenge Ward.
“I guess to have an election you’ve got to have more than one candidate. It now relies on Jean to become a candidate, and declare that he’s prepared to continue as well. I think as the others have summarised, he’s done a very good job in his presidency so far. It really has very little to do with us, it really is an FIA issue and between the different ASNs – and who knows, there may even be another candidate. I think Jean’s done a very good job and everything’s already been said.”