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Kate Walker: Jean Todt gets second term as FIA president

Kate Walker: "While it might appear that a unanimous vote in a one-horse race is little to crow about, the simple fact that there were no abstentions speaks volumes..."
Used to keeping her eye on the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing that makes F1 a political melodrama, here columnist Kate Walker reports directly from Paris after Jean Todt's uncontested victory in the FIA presidential election...

It's official. Jean Todt has been voted in for a second term as FIA president, following a race in which he ran unopposed, despite attempts by Briton David Ward to mount a challenge.

The vote took place at Paris' InterContinental Le Grand hotel, and saw Todt receive unanimous support from all 250 delegates in attendance, with no abstentions recorded. While it might appear that a unanimous vote in a one-horse race is little to crow about, the simple fact that there were no abstentions speaks volumes.

With no alternative candidate, abstaining from votes was the only way in which the FIA electorate would have been able to register a protest vote either against Todt as an individual or against his platform. While Ward's election attempt was predicated on the widespread support the Briton claimed to have from the FIA member clubs, none of that support was in evidence in Paris on Friday morning.

But Ward's presence was certainly felt, and his campaign was alluded to in Todt's acceptance speech, in which the Frenchman spoke out against defaming the Federation for personal gain.

“This unity - the unity of the FIA family - is a precious asset that we must protect,” Todt said. “This is a fundamental value that we must respect and defend. It is a duty for all of us and even more so for those who aspire to positions of responsibility within our organisation.

“I have nothing against competition. On the contrary, it has always been at the heart of my professional life. It is legitimate that it is exercised in a democratic election such as that of the FIA. Competition is a good thing because it forces you to give the best of yourself. For this reason, I welcome healthy debate. But debate should focus on ideas, not on individuals. It should lift an organisation, not lower it; it should strengthen an organisation, not weaken it. Above all, debate must be based on truth, honesty, and integrity.

“I deeply regret that in the course of these last few weeks we have had unfounded insinuations cast on the FIA's governance, the transparency of its accounts, and the integrity of its members,” he continued. “Worse, the Press was used repeatedly to spread these false claims, where they only harm the image of our FIA family. Faced with this irresponsible attack, we took a decision not to engage in a public fight with the media which would have only been destructive for our organisation.

“Instead we chose to address our clubs directly with the truth. We led a campaign based on honesty and ideas and policies for the future. You fully understood and supported this, and for that I thank you sincerely.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
26.05.2013- Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
03.11.2013- Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
17.03.2013- Race, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
12.05.2013-  Race, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA and his wife Michelle Yeoh
12.05.2013- Formula One Long Short Walk, Nikki Lauda (AU), Mercedes, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA, Michelle Yeoh, wife of Jean Todt (FRA) and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
27.05.2012- Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
07.05.2011- Qualifying, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
Saturday, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
Race, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA

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Texas Roadhouse

December 06, 2013 3:48 PM

@ Jim Clausen Somehow appropriate that your comments about Cosworth and the DFV come just as they are no longer involved as an engine supplier in F1. For all that some may decry the era of the DFV, with (I think) 155 victories, that engine was iconic, and was a major factor in shaping F1 as it is today. And racing "the way it used to be"? Well there were far more avenues for the designer to explore than in today's stifling rule book(s). Tyres were there to provide best performance, not the contrived lumps of black **** in use today. As for the safety aspect - of course no-one wants to return to that environment. But opening up (or simplifying) the rules to allow lateral thought would transform the grid from little more than clones of a concept to true variety of engineering excellence - which, after all is what F1 was supposed to be about.

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