Jean Todt, the former FIA president, has finally responded to his successor Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s critical remarks about his tenure. Todt dismisses the allegations of financial mismanagement and the handling of a legal case as unfounded, defending his record and the organization’s financial health during his leadership.
Between the lines
- Todt refutes Ben Sulayem’s claims of a $20 million deficit and a patent dispute over the Halo device, attributing financial challenges to the Covid crisis.
- He highlights the FIA’s financial growth during his presidency, with reserves increasing from 40 million to over 250 million Euros.
- The Halo patent dispute was an open case but was transparently managed and presented to FIA’s senate and world council, Todt insists.
- Todt expresses disappointment in the new administration’s approach, suggesting a stark contrast to his own methods and decisions.
When Mohammed Ben Sulayem took the FIA presidential seat, he was greeted with what he described as a financial hurdle and a legal tangle. Fast forward to today, and Jean Todt has decided it’s time to set the record straight. In a candid interview with L’Equipe, Todt paints a picture of his presidency not as a period of financial recklessness but as an era of strategic growth and crisis management.
Todt emphasizes the FIA’s robust financial position at the end of his term, a stark contrast to the alleged “deficit” narrative. He credits this to the introduction of new competitions and revenue streams, such as Formula E and the World Endurance Championship, which diversified the FIA’s income portfolio.
Addressing the Halo patent dispute, Todt admits the issue was unresolved at the end of his tenure but assures that it was far from being swept under the rug. He details the thorough documentation and the proactive approach taken to inform the FIA’s governing bodies, including his successor.
Todt’s defense doesn’t just stop at finances and legal disputes. He takes pride in the renegotiated agreements with Formula One Management (FOM), which not only increased the FIA’s income but also solidified its governance role within the sport.
Lastly, Todt reflects on the change in leadership style and direction under Ben Sulayem, noting a departure from the foundations laid during his time. While he doesn’t shy away from expressing his discontent with the current administration’s approach, he maintains a dignified stance, emphasizing the futility of false allegations and the importance of moving forward.
As the FIA navigates its new trajectory, the motorsport community watches closely, with Todt’s legacy serving as a benchmark for the organization’s future endeavors. Keep your engines revved for more insights and updates from the fast-paced world of Formula 1.