Jean Todt’s approval rating (Poll)

Todt and Schumacher at the FIA's 'Make Roads Safe' campaign

Todt and Schumacher at the FIA's 'Make Roads Safe' campaign

Another tumultuous year of F1 politics in 2009 culminated in Max Mosley’s decision not to stand for re-election, paving the way for Jean Todt to be elected his successor.

Today we start a new series of articles on F1 Fanatic to monitor what Todt is doing for the sport and whether F1 fans think he is doing a good job. Join in below.

The FIA president’s approval rating

American readers – or anyone with an interest in US politics – will be familiar with the regular approval ratings taken to gauge public opinion of how well the president is performing.

We’re going to do a similar thing and poll the public on Todt’s performance once a month to build up a view of how opinion of him changes over time.

We’ll use a question similar to the standard phrase put before Americans: “Do you approve or disapprove of the way [the president] is handling his job as President?”

Jean Todt’s presidency: the first three months

Todt got his feet under the desk in October and we’ve recently begun to see the first significant developments for F1 since he took charge.

These included the surprising announcement of a new points system, covered here:

Several changes to F1 stewarding have also been announced including the abolition of the non-voting Chairman position (previously held by Alan Donnelly) and the introduction of experienced drivers to offer insight into controversial incidents.

More on those changes and other tweaks to the 2010 F1 rules below:

The FIA has also announced teams will be able to nominate judges who can sit on FIA International Court of Appeal hearings next year. It has also invited proposals for further changes to F1 this year in an effort to – in its own words -“improve the show”.

Two potentially significant steps in a wider motor racing context – which will surely have a bearing on F1 – concern green technologies and women in motor sport.

Todt has hired Gilles Simon, who headed the engine development team at Ferrari until last year, to contribute to the Environment Working Group. Todt expressed regret that with KERS being dropped this year F1 will not be playing a role in developing greener motoring technologies.

Similarly a new working group has been established to promote the role of women at all levels of motor sport.

It was clear last year that Todt’s rival Ari Vatanen was the preferred choice of F1 fans. Has Todt done anything yet to improve his standing in the eyes of fans? What do you think he’s got right – or wrong?

Vote below and keep an eye out for the regular vote appearing once a month at F1 Fanatic:

As an F1 fan, do you approve or disapprove of the way Jean Todt is handling his job as FIA President?

  • Approve (55%)
  • Disapprove (16%)
  • No opinion (29%)

Total Voters: 941

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Read more: Jean Todt vs Ari Vatanen (Poll)

Image via makeroadssafe on Flickr – official website

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54 comments on Jean Todt’s approval rating (Poll)

  1. George said on 3rd January 2010, 7:19

    I think he’s done a good job so far, the points change is a bit rediculous but I doubt he had much to do with it.

    As an aside, I dont see what the point is of promoting women in motorsport, generally speaking the fairer sex aren’t interested and I see no reason they should be made to be. For those that are interested, as far as I know they dont recieve inferior treatment to men right now?

    • sato113 said on 3rd January 2010, 16:40

      yeah I agree, I think that in general women aren’t as interested in motorsport compared to men. I know alot of women do like motorsport and that is a good thing, but lets not kid ourselves, men make up the majority…

    • Kayleigh said on 3rd January 2010, 20:34

      As a female in motorsport I think promoting it is needed, I came across my career purely by accident just before going to uni, and until that point had no idea such a career existed in reality. Now that could be across the board for males at my school/college too but considering 100 males were on my degree and only 3 females suggests that these careers arent mentioned to girls.

      Never mind the driving aspect – men are only better in go karts cos they are put in them at such an earlier age. Girls come to karting at a much older age and so are always going to struggle to get to the top flight.

  2. nixon said on 3rd January 2010, 7:31

    i agree with you the points are slightly confusing, and i think he is better than Max Mosley. Because every time i see a picture of max he looks like he is up to something evil.

  3. I voted “Approve” just because I think Jean Tod is in the right way:

    1) Maintaining a “low PR profile”. He is just doing things not creating polemic issues about the past. That could create more problems than benefits, to change things.

    2) He is listening more to F1 Teams. The new point system is something coming from the Teams working group, not from him. Good news to see FIA not “dictating” rules as was happening in previous years.

    3) He is trying to change Stewarding process, taking out a “yes man” figure and introducing more professionalized structure and allowing them to use technical infrastructure available (TV and Teams radio signal) for making better and faster decisions.

    At the end, IMHO Tod is trying to improve FIA role through a more professional way and not starting polemics about the disasters of the previous FIA way of managing things. A war that would take out a lot of time from him just for achieving almost nothing (at least nothing F1 stakeholders didn’t knew)

    Anyway, it should be quite easy for many people, not only Tod, to do things better than the former FIA president: S&M Mosely!

    • Totally agree. Todt is a wise man. He’s keeping his head below the parapet. Clearly listening to the opinion of other experts ( what a novel idea that would have been to MM ) and taking his time settling in to a bloody huge job.

      This man might be worth supporting through the difficult years ahead. Lets cut him plenty of slack.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys said on 3rd January 2010, 7:43

    I put approve. I think he’s already demonstrated that he is not Mosley v2.0 the way so many people believed – no, assumed – he would be. He’s been very quiet, but a lot has been done. Quite the antithesis of Mosley, wouldn’t you say?

    • WidowFactory said on 4th January 2010, 9:25

      I agree. I think everyone has gone in expecting the worst from Todt – he is obviously very aware of this and so has kept his head down and done some good work. However, we’ll see where his loyalties lie when the season gets under way – especially with his old buddy back in a racing seat again.

  5. Spike said on 3rd January 2010, 7:50

    Way too early to tell yet…

    • R.E.M. said on 3rd January 2010, 16:24

      Exactly, lets wait till the season has gone by. If he can stay neutral (between Ferrari and/or Schumacher), he’ll have done a great job.

      • sato113 said on 3rd January 2010, 16:41


        • three4three said on 3rd January 2010, 23:32

          Also agreed. I voted “no opinion” as it’s early days and even though I vaguely think he’s heading in the right direction I don’t feel strongly enough to “approve” at this point in time.

  6. Chaz said on 3rd January 2010, 8:07

    This is a good idea. I like that you also will summarise what he’s been up to in order for us to make a more informed vote. Thanks.

    However, this post has prompted me to think long term F1 strategy and I’ve been wondering what Todt has in the pipeline for 2011? We’ve seen that radical rule changes has tended to level the playing field a little more and made it quite exciting. I appreciate to many changes will likely mean some inevitable bad decisions are made. But do we no what’s planned for after the single race fuel load, no tyre warmers, etc…

    • In fact continuing on the same theme, what would fans most like to change in F1 if they had the power to do so…

      • sato113 said on 3rd January 2010, 16:44

        i’d start a new forum topic on this if I were you.
        If I had the power, I’d adopt the FOTA points system (12,9,7…), ban double diffusers, get rid of Bernie the next time he raises fees for traditional races or cancels them.

  7. While the idea of an approval poll, in theory, is a sound one, in practice (on this site), it is inherently flawed.

    The FIA govern hundreds if not thousands of different types/classes of motor sport whereas this site merely caters to Formula 1.

    What happens when Todt screws up F1 but improves the BTCC, WRC, Drag, Hillclimb, Autocross etc. etc. – the visitors to this site, concerned with F1 only will say he’s doing a crap job and condemn him for it whereas overall, he’ll be doing a good job….

    • Brian said on 3rd January 2010, 9:05

      It did state at the top of the article that:

      “Today we start a new series of articles on F1 Fanatic to monitor what Todt is doing for the sport [F1 in this case] and whether F1 fans think he is doing a good job.” [emphasis added]

      That’s all that it’s measuring. If every group of people affected by the FIA did the same thing, then presumably after a year or so someone would be able to collate all the information to get a clearer picture of how he’s doing in general.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd January 2010, 10:18

      That’s why I put “As an F1 fan” at the start of the question. This is purely to do with whether he’s doing a good job with respect to F1.

      • Exactly Keith.

        We’re only interested in how well he does running our particular sport.
        What he does elsewhere will only be relevant if he transfers other motor sports ideas to F1. Then we really will sit up and smell the coffee.

    • sato113 said on 3rd January 2010, 16:49

      is the BTCC governed by the FIA??? I hope not.

  8. Brian said on 3rd January 2010, 9:18

    I voted approve because I think that he’s done a good job so far.

    He’s moved away from the confrontationalism which marred Mosley’s presidency in latter years, and has been quietly getting things done.

    Also, there was a rumour that Todt was instrumental in getting the Silverstone deal signed, which, if true is a good thing IMO.

  9. Oliver said on 3rd January 2010, 9:27

    Rules dont create bias, its the officiating that does. We need a few races and possibly a few scandals to know how he handles these issues.

  10. Icthyes said on 3rd January 2010, 10:03

    I voted No Opinion, not because I don’t have an opinion, but because I both approve and disapprove. The stewarding reform is a step in the right direction, and the nomination by teams of members to the Court of Appeal is also a good idea, and hopefully something will come of the EWG (such as investment and research into hydrogen fuel so that it one day becomes a truly viable alternative), but I really do not like the new points system, and haven’t see anything to suggest he isn’t Mosley v2.0 – not that I think he is, but would he really have done something Mosley-like so soon into his presidency?

    • NDINYO said on 4th January 2010, 15:52

      from my elementary school chemistry i cannot forget that hydrogen meeting oxygen produces a pop sound – translate that to an explosion if you were to have a fuel spillage of the kind we have been seeing recently in the pitlane. I guess if hydrogen would be the standard fuel in the pitlane, refueling will never be an option for future “improving the show” working groups. however i cannot imagine a hydrogen free future for F1 – its rumored that it now costs pretty much the same as contemporary fuels in tests. looks like sooner than later.

  11. sumedh said on 3rd January 2010, 10:28

    I voted “Approve”. Although, so far, all he has done is take decisions and create ‘working groups’. Getting these ‘working groups’ to work, and produce a change in the sport (esp. the stewarding part) is a different story.

    The points system – I liked the new one. It has added more point scoring positions without comprising the ratio of 1st:2nd:3rd much. Simple, smart decision making there.

    Also, Great idea of ‘approval rating’, Keith.

  12. Joaqo said on 3rd January 2010, 10:52

    I think it’s to early to make a judgment, the only thing i’m fearing is him being a bit bias towards Ferrari just as Mosley was (e.g. “Secret veto”), but yes so far he hasn’t done anything wrong.

    • NDINYO said on 4th January 2010, 16:00

      for me this bias got him a clean “Disapprove”. Lack of independence in the regulator for me is a show killer and i have not seen anything to indicate Todt will not be objective – i am keen to see how he will make controversial decisions involving Ferrari, Michael and Filipe; my guess is that the bias will be thinly veiled, maybe even worse than Mosley’s since he may not be as good at playing the media.

  13. FuriousA83 said on 3rd January 2010, 11:11

    Approve – but as my boss keeps saying ‘Proof is in the pudding’ – So his words are good but i want to see some evidence before i press approve again

  14. Scribe said on 3rd January 2010, 11:15

    I voted approve, because so far everything has moved in the right direction, however he only gets my vote due to what seems to be basic competance, so far he hasn#t really been tested.

    If you ask me the regs need to be changed again to something simular to Mosley suggestions for the budget capped team, but with no cap. ie fully movable parts on the front and rear wings an a more powefull less limited KERS system.

    Bring back brake steer and tuned mass dampers an your on your way to more overtaking.

  15. Woffin said on 3rd January 2010, 11:50

    I “approve” of Jean Todt because Im pretty sure he was the guy who managed to speak to people behind to scenes and get everyone to agree on a deal for Silverstone. In a sport where the commercial rights holder is willing to drop the British GP simply because it couldn’t match his demands, it is nice to see that someone like Todt could sit down and make it happen as someone who appreciates the race as something other than an extra revenue stream.

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