Q & A with Jean Todt
|Thursday, October 22nd 2009, 15:33 GMT|
The FIA will elect a new president in Paris on Friday, with either Jean Todt or Ari Vatanen to be picked as the man to take motorsport and motoring into the new decade.
This week AUTOSPORT asked each of the election candidates for his thoughts on his campaign, what he stood for and what he hopes to achieve in office.
In the interests of fairness to both sides, Vatanen and Todt were asked the same question and given the same opportunities to respond.
Here are their full unedited answers.
1. If elected president, what will be your first act in power?
Jean Todt: To thank the members of the FIA for their trust and support and begin the task of healing divisions created by some of the negative aspects of the election campaign.
2. What are your qualities that will make you a worthy FIA president?
JT: Strong leadership, teamwork, passion, loyalty and a total commitment to deliver on our policy priorities.
3. What do you consider to be the biggest challenges that the FIA faces during the next four years?
JT: We still face a difficult global economic situation and are challenged by issues such as CO2 emissions reduction and its impact on both motor sport and mobility. In developing countries there is a dramatic growth in vehicle ownership and this brings road safety and environmental challenges which must be addressed. Within the FIA we need to improve the synergies between mobility and sport.
4. At the forthcoming UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, governments around the world will face decisions to make significant reductions in CO2 emissions. What can the FIA do to improve motor sport's environmental credentials and ensure its long-term sustainability in the face of ever tougher 'green' regulations?
JT: The environment is a policy priority for our clubs, our sport and the entire automotive industry. The FIA and its membership have taken a leadership role on sustainability initiatives. Working closely with all the stakeholders, motor sport can set an important green agenda for the future. I will seek to encourage and enhance this approach.
More than ten years ago the FIA initiated an innovative carbon offset programme based on the emissions from F1 and WRC. More recently the Make Cars Green policy declaration and campaign have been supported by mobility and motor sport clubs throughout the world as well as drivers and teams in all the major world championships.
Through the new FIA commission for sustainability, through an expanded environmental remit for the FIA Institute and through technical working groups which include input from teams and manufacturers on socially relevant technologies we can help shape a greener future for our sport.
5. In recent years Formula 1 has attracted widespread publicity for scandals such as spying and race fixing, what will you do as president of the FIA to get the attention turned back to the on-track action?
JT: Controversy is often an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of the enormous global media and public interest in Formula 1.
My team's approach will be based on consensus not confrontation. We will make the best use of the F1 Commission and will appoint a new F1 Commissioner to work with all the stakeholders in the F1 Championship. We want to further develop F1 so that it benefits all those involved, from teams to fans. As the regulator of a hugely competitive and technically complex sport we will also establish an independent disciplinary panel to investigate breaches of the rules and to recommend the most appropriate response.
6. How can the FIA reconcile the desire to take motor sport into new markets while at the same time ensuring the traditional fan base does not miss out?
JT: We must recognise the importance of both the global reach of our sport to new markets as well as its heritage and traditional venues. We feel confident that we can, with the support of the teams, the promoters and the commercial rights holder, find the right balance.
7. Are there any changes that you feel are needed in the structure of the FIA in order for it to operate more effectively in all areas, from running world motorsport to global mobility?
JT: We have made a number of detailed proposals which we have set out in our policy agenda. These encompass the governance and statutes of the FIA as well as specific proposals for our mobility and motor sport activities. It is important that sport and mobility support each other and work together where they can. During the past 3 months of the campaign we have opened a dialogue with clubs all over the world and we need to keep this communication channel open so that the clubs, who are the FIA, have a real say in its future. In particular we want to give the regions greater input into the way the FIA operates and the priorities it sets and this means regular consultation. We will introduce constructive changes to the FIA whilst striving to unite its membership.
8. Outgoing president Max Mosley was in power for 16 years, what lessons can be learned from the way he ran motor sport?
JT: The FIA has achieved a great deal under Max Mosley's leadership. There have been huge improvements in the safety of the sport through a sustained focus on research, technology and developing new regulations. The lesson must be that you can achieve a great deal if you have the determination and are willing to put in the hard work. Having said that, Max has his style and I have mine.
9. In one word sum up your style of presidency?