Tributes paid as Todt’s FIA tenure comes to an end

Henry Valantine
Jean Todt holds a helmet. FIA prize-giving Paris December 2021.

Jean Todt is presented with a helmet at the FIA prize-giving gala. Paris December 2021.

Senior figures from the world of motorsport have paid tribute to Jean Todt, who has now left his role as FIA president after 12 years in the role.

Todt gave an emotional speech at the FIA prize-giving ceremony in Paris on Thursday night, as he brings his presidency to an end after three terms in the job.

The search for his replacement saw FIA vice president Mohammed Ben Sulayem elected to take Todt’s place, having served on the World Motor Sport Council for the last 13 years and been a key figure in organising the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

As for Todt, though, former Ferrari colleague and current Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali led the well-wishes at the annual gala as the 75-year-old stepped down.

Jean Todt gives Max Verstappen his trophy. FIA prize-giving Paris December 2021.
Jean Todt hands the Drivers' Championship trophy to Max Verstappen at the FIA prize-giving ceremony. Paris December 2021.

Domenicali said: “Your professional life has always been characterised by true values. We thank you for all that you have done for the motor sport community and also for safety and human rights. You are leaving a lasting legacy.”

Richard Mille, President of the FIA Endurance Commission, continued: “He’s somebody you can call at 3 o’clock in the morning with a problem and he will wake up the world to solve the problem. We are going to miss him so much.”

The president’s son, Nicolas Todt added: “I want to tell you how proud I am to have a father like you who taught me so many important values.

“Your successes are due to your passion for motorsport, your willingness to always push the boundaries, your capacity to get the very best from your colleagues and to never take no for an answer.”

The man of the hour was pragmatic about leaving the front line of how the FIA operates, and said the time is right for a change at the top of the organisation, and he hopes to continue to work elsewhere.


Todt said upon his departure: “Life is made in chapters. Being a co-driver was my first. And now this chapter is over. Twelve years is a long time. The job is demanding.

“I know that the FIA will get fresh blood, a fresh team. Amongst the legacy I leave, I leave an amazing team which is able to continue to deliver the job with the new elected team.

“I still have the same passion. I am blessed, I still love motor racing. Now it is time to give something back in other areas of life. I am an old man but in good form and we will see what comes next.”