AUGUST 21, 2009
The Jean Todt Fan Club
Jean Todt has issued a series of statements of support for his candidacy in the FIA presidential election from motoring politicians. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it looks very impressive to have a list of positive statements. On the other hand it gives observers the opportunity to analyse the support and this may not be quite as positive.
It is interesting that there were no really unexpected names on the list. And there are few supporters from the touring side of the federation. Given the timing of the release this may be because it was intended for the F1 media in Valencia and so the touring clubs are of no real interest.
The list underlines that no matter what Todt says about how things will change, he is being supported by virtually all of the old Mosley regime. Almost all of those listed are either members of Mosley's World Motor Sport Council or longtime supporters. They include all of Mosley's regional fixers and many of them are fairly old as well: six of them were World Council members 15 years ago when Mosley first shaped the body.
Todt has been seen as the favourite from the start of the campaign and he has been making all the right noises about what needs to be done. Declaring that he is being supported by people who have not instituted any of the changes up to now raises questions about whether there really will be change in the future, or whether the aim is purely to win power and then go on running the FIA in much the same way as it has been run throughout the Mosley era.
It also suggests that Todt felt the need to try to impress the voting clubs - which hints that perhaps he is not quite as certain of victory as the campaign has previously suggested.
Ari Vatanen says that the FIA needs change and not being supported by the old regime adds to his credibility as a reformer.