Jean Todt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jean Todt
President of Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile
In office
23 October 2009 – 17 December 2021
Preceded byMax Mosley
Succeeded byMohammed Ben Sulayem
United Nations Special Envoy for Road Safety
Assumed office
29 April 2015[1]
Personal details
Born (1946-02-25) 25 February 1946 (age 77)
Pierrefort, France
(m. 2023)
ChildrenNicolas Todt
EducationÉcole des Cadres, Paris, France
OccupationFIA President, UN SG's Special Envoy for Road Safety
AwardsGrand Croix de la Légion d'honneur

Jean Henri Todt[2] (French: [ʒɑ̃ tɔd]; born 25 February 1946) is a French motor racing executive and former rally co-driver. He was previously director of Peugeot Talbot Sport and then Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team principal, before being appointed chief executive officer of Ferrari from 2004 to 2008. From 2009 to 2021 he served as the ninth president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).

In 1966, Todt started his career as a rally co-driver and participated in World Championship rallies until 1981 when, with Guy Fréquelin, he won the Constructors' World Rally Championship with Talbot Lotus. Under Todt's leadership, Peugeot won four World Rally Championship titles (drivers and manufacturers), won the Paris-Dakar Rally four times, and twice won the Le Mans 24 Hours. During his time in charge at Ferrari, their teams won 14 Formula One World Championship titles (drivers and manufacturers). Also under Todt's leadership, Michael Schumacher won five consecutive World Drivers' Championships, from 2000 to 2004, and 72 of his 91 victories.

In October 2009, Todt was elected President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA);[3] he was re-elected in December 2013 and December 2017. Todt's most recent term as FIA President ended in December 2021. On 29 April 2015, Todt had been appointed the United Nations' Special Envoy for Road Safety.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Todt was born in Pierrefort, a southern Cantal village in the Auvergne region of France.[5]

After high school, Todt studied at the Ecole des Cadres School of Economics and Business in Paris.[6]

Rally co-driver: 1966 to 1981[edit]

Todt (right) with Darniche, Nicolas and Piot in 1973

The young Todt was fascinated by motorsport and had special respect for drivers like Jim Clark and Dan Gurney. Borrowing the parental Mini Cooper to drive in rallies, he soon decided his greatest strength was as a co-driver. He first co-drove with Guy Chasseuil in 1966 and his talent for calculation, strategy and organisation quickly made him a sought-after navigator. By 1969, Todt was involved with world-class rally stars such as Jean-Pierre Nicolas, Rauno Aaltonen, Ove Andersson, Hannu Mikkola and Guy Fréquelin. He went on to enjoy success as a co-driver with Jean-François Piot, Ove Andersson, Achim Warmbold, Jean Guichet, Hannu Mikkola, Jean-Claude Lefèbvre, Timo Mäkinen, Jean-Pierre Nicolas and Guy Fréquelin.

In 1981, as Guy Fréquelin's co-driver with Talbot, a Peugeot subsidiary, he won the manufacturers’ World Rally Championship and was runner-up in the drivers' World Rally Championship. At the same time, he was increasingly moving out from his role as a co-driver by participating in the management of the team and in relations with the FIA.

He also represented the drivers in the FISA (Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile) Rally Commission from 1975 to 1981.

Director of Peugeot Talbot Sport: 1982 to 1993[edit]

In 1981, he retired from competing as a co-driver and was appointed Director of Racing for Peugeot by the then CEO Jean Boillot at a time when PSA Peugeot Citroën was experiencing major financial difficulties as well as image problems. He applied his abilities as an organiser and strategist to the creation of Peugeot Talbot Sport, which he set up to spearhead the French firm's return to competition. He was the mastermind behind the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 and Peugeot 905.

In 1984, Peugeot returned to the World Rally Championship and, in 1985 and 1986, the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Group B driven first by Timo Salonen then by Juha Kankkunen obtained back-to-back manufacturers’ World Championship titles. In 1986 Henri Toivonen died driving a Lancia Delta S4 during the Tour de Corse rally and the FIA decided to drop the Group B class as being too fast and too dangerous.

In 1987, Todt adapted the 205 Turbo 16 to off-road rallies with the aim of competing in the showcase Paris-Dakar Rally. He became the centre of attention in the 1989 Paris-Dakar when he tossed a coin to decide between his two drivers Ari Vatanen and Jacky Ickx to ensure that their rivalry would not lead to one of them quitting and costing the team victory. From 1987 to 1990, he oversaw four successive victories in the Paris-Dakar with Vatanen and Juha Kankkunen. Peugeot subsequently decided to withdraw from off-road rallying and left the field open to Citroën who won the event with the Citroën ZX Rallye-Raid, based on the Peugeot 405 chassis.

In 1992, Todt won the Le Mans 24 Hours with the Peugeot 905 driven by Derek Warwick, Yannick Dalmas and Mark Blundell and, in 1993, again at Le Mans, three 905 cars driven by Geoff Brabham, Christophe Bouchut and Éric Hélary achieved a 1-2-3 victory.

General Manager of Scuderia Ferrari: 1994 to 2007[edit]

Todt in 2001

In 1993, at the age of 47, Todt's 12 years with Peugeot Talbot Sport came to an end. He was recruited by Luca di Montezemolo, the new CEO of Scuderia Ferrari. On 1 July of that year at the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, he started in as the General Manager of the Racing Division at the head of a team of 400 technicians.

He was the first non-Italian since Marco Piccinini to head the Scuderia. His challenge was to lead Ferrari back to success at a time when the team was experiencing some of the worst days in its history. The Italian team was undermined by internal quarrels and a production system that was partly delocalised. The Scuderia had won no driver's championship since 1979. Todt set about restructuring the management of the Racing Division.

In 1994, barely a year after Todt took up the challenge, Gerhard Berger won the German Grand Prix (Ferrari's first win in 4 years). Even so, Michael Schumacher's Benetton-Ford (world champion in 1994 and 1995) and the Williams-Renault cars of Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell and David Coulthard largely dominated the competition.

At the end of the 1995 season, Todt asked the German double world champion Michael Schumacher to join the Scuderia.

In 1996, after winning the Spanish Grand Prix early on the season, Schumacher won two consecutive victories in first the Belgian and then the Italian Grand Prix. Todt then hired two former Benetton managers, the designer and aerodynamics specialist Rory Byrne and technical director Ross Brawn, to replace John Barnard.

In 1997 and 1998 Ferrari missed out on the world drivers' title by a few points during the final races of the season, in 1997 behind Jacques Villeneuve's Williams-Renault and in 1998 and 1999 behind Mika Häkkinen's McLaren-Mercedes, mainly because of Schumacher's early season injury at Silverstone in the British GP.

However, Todt achieved his goal of reviving Ferrari by winning the Constructors' Championship for Ferrari in 1999, regardless of Schumacher's injury. Starting in 2000, Schumacher would win the next five consecutive world championships through 2004, and hence six straight Constructors' Championships. This was the most dominant a team had ever been in Formula 1, and a first in the history of the sport until Mercedes began its run of dominance from 2014 to 2020.

CEO and Special Advisor at Ferrari: 2004 to 2009[edit]

On 1 June 2004, Todt was appointed CEO of Ferrari in addition to his title of General Manager of the Racing Division.[7][8] In October 2006, three days after the end of the Formula One season which they had almost won again in a tight battle with Renault in Formula One and Fernando Alonso, and following the retirement of Michael Schumacher, Todt took up a new post as a Special Advisor for the Scuderia Ferrari.

In 2007, he prepared the ground for Stefano Domenicali to succeed him as head of the Scuderia on 1 January 2008. Then, on 18 March 2008, he resigned his position as Special Advisor to the Ferrari board, to be replaced by Amedeo Felisa. He nonetheless remained a member of the board of Ferrari for a further year before resigning all his functions within the Italian firm in March 2009.

President of FIA[edit]

In April 2009, he became President of "eSafety Aware!" for the promotion of the smart vehicles and new safety technologies, which enabled him to improve his knowledge of the internal workings of the FIA.[9]

On 16 July 2009, he officially announced his intention of running for the Presidency of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile in the election that was due to take place in October. The day before, he had received the support of outgoing President Max Mosley, who had decided not to stand for re-election. He was the second contender to declare, the 1981 world rally champion Ari Vatanen having announced his candidature just a few days earlier.[10]

On 23 October 2009, he was elected President of the FIA (for what would become his first term) gaining 135 votes in comparison to Vatanen's 49.[3] He was re-elected, unchallenged, for a second four-year term on 6 December 2013,[11] and was again re-elected, unopposed, for a third four-year term on 8 December 2017.[12] His FIA presidency ended in December 2021, with the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix being his last race which he would attend as president. He was later succeeded by Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy[edit]

Todt in 2020

Since April 29, 2015, Jean Todt has been Special Envoy for Road Safety to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The new UN Secretary-General António Guterres confirmed him in this role in April 2017.

Other activities[edit]

Jean Todt also devotes his time to several charitable causes. He is one of the founders and the Vice-President of the Institut du cerveau et de la moelle épinière (ICM), an institute devoted to medical research for brain and spinal cord disorders, which was set up in 2005. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society since 2009, President of the Board of Directors of the Suu Foundation since December 2014, Tourism Ambassador for Malaysia (2009-2015) and member of the Board of Directors for the International Peace Institute (IPI) since June 2015. He has been a member of the IOC's Commission for Public Affairs and Social Development through Sport since April 2017.

Since January 2018, he has been a board member of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.

He also sits on the boards of Gaumont, the Groupe Lucien Barrière and Edmond de Rothschild SA.

Since 2003, Todt has been an Honorary President of the Federazione Auto Motoristica Sammarinese (FAMS) and Ambassador of the Republic of San Marino.

He is also an honorary member of the Automobile Club de France and of the Polo de Paris.[13]

Trophies and titles[edit]


As co-driver[edit]

Fifty-four WRC competitions as co-driver with a total of four victories between 1973 and 1981:

As team principal/director[edit]

  • World Rally Championship (Peugeot Talbot Sport/Peugeot 205 Turbo 16) (2): 1985, 1986 (drivers’ and manufacturers’ title)
  • German Rally Championship (2): 1985 (Kalle Grundel), 1986 (Michèle Mouton) (Peugeot 205 Turbo 16)
  • Paris-Dakar Rally (Peugeot Talbot Sport) (4): 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990
  • Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC - the Race to the Clouds) (Peugeot Talbot Sport) (1) : 1988 (Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 driven by A. Vatanen)
  • French Rallycross Championship (Peugeot Talbot Sport/Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 2) (3): 1988 (Guy Fréquelin), 1989 (Philippe Wambergue) and 1990 (Jean-Manuel Beuzelin)
  • Andros Elite Trophy (Peugeot 205 Turbo 16) (1): 1990 (Éric Arpin)
  • World Sportscar Championship (Peugeot Talbot Sport/Peugeot 905) (1) : 1992 (drivers’ and manufacturers’ title)
  • Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot Talbot Sport/Peugeot 905) (2): 1992, 1993
  • Formula One World Constructors’ Championship with the Scuderia Ferrari (8): 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008 (106 Grand Prix wins)
  • Formula One World Drivers' Championship with the Scuderia Ferrari (6): 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 (Michael Schumacher), 2007 (Kimi Räikkönen)

Titles and distinctions[edit]

Jean Todt has been awarded many titles and distinctions, including:

  • Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (2011)
  • Gold Medal of Youth and Sports (1987)
  • Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle Award (1987)
  • Officer of the National Order of Merit (1991)
  • Commander of the Italian Republic (2002)
  • Doctor Honoris Causa in Mechanic Engineering at Florence University (2004)
  • Dato Seri of Malaysia (2006)
  • Member of the Ukrainian Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (2011)
  • Grand Officer of the Order of Saint Agatha (San Marino) (2012)
  • Commander of the National Order of Merit of Senegal (2013)
  • Medal of the First Class of the Kingdom of Bahrain, awarded by the King (2014)
  • Medal of the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation (2015)
  • Palme d'Or of the International Automobile Festival (2015)
  • Humanitarian of the Year Award by the United Nations Association of New York (2016)[14]
  • Doctor Honoris Causa by the National Sports Academy of Sofia (2017)
  • Medal of the Order of St. George from the SemperOpernball (2019)
  • Commander of the Order of Saint Charles of Monaco (2020)

Management positions[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Todt has been in a relationship with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh since 2004.[15] In an Instagram post, former Scuderia Ferrari driver Felipe Massa revealed that Yeoh and Todt were married on 27 July 2023 in Geneva.[16] He has a son from his previous marriage, Nicolas Todt, a driver manager and former co-owner of ART Grand Prix.[17]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "United Nations Special Envoy for Road Safety | UNECE".
  2. ^ "Décret du 13 juillet 2011 portant élévation aux dignités de grand'croix et de grand officier" (in French). Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Motor racing-Todt elected FIA president". Reuters. 23 October 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  4. ^ "Secretary-General Appoints Jean Todt of France as Special Envoy for Road Safety | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Who Is Jean Todt, Michelle Yeoh's Husband?". Town & Country. 28 July 2023. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  6. ^ "Jean Todt". ITF 2023 Summit. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  7. ^ "Jean Todt's new role at Ferrari". 20 June 2004. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  8. ^ "Jean Todt, former teamboss of Scuderia Ferrari and former FIA President". RacingNews365. 19 September 2023. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  9. ^ "Motor-Sport: MMF Chairman Tonio Cini in talks with Jean Todt and Ari Vatanen - The Malta Independent". Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  10. ^ Noble, Jonathan (10 July 2009). "Vatanen to run for FIA presidency". Autosport.
  11. ^ "Jean Todt is re-elected as the president of FIA". 6 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Todt re-elected as FIA President". 8 December 2017.
  13. ^ (13 March 2023). "Jean Todt: Ferrari F1 legend and partner of Michelle Yeoh". GPfans. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  14. ^ "The 2016 United Nations Day Humanitarian Awards Gala Dinner". United Nations Association of New York. 26 October 2016. Archived from the original on 26 October 2023. Retrieved 26 October 2023.
    "World's Problems Will Be Solved by 'Working Together in Global Solidarity', Says Secretary-General at Humanitarian Awards Dinner". United Nations. 26 October 2016. Archived from the original on 26 October 2023. Retrieved 26 October 2023.
  15. ^ Kuper, Simon (3 May 2019). "Take a look inside Michelle Yeoh and Jean Todt's Geneva mansion". Financial Times. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  16. ^ Soh, Joanne (28 July 2023). "Actress Michelle Yeoh and fiance Jean Todt finally wed after 19 years | The Straits Times". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 28 July 2023. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  17. ^ "Nicolas Todt: Having A Dad Like This For Sure Helped Me". GrandPrix247. 19 March 2020. Retrieved 12 December 2022.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile
Succeeded by