Jean Todt’s Approval Rating II (Poll)

FIA president Jean Todt with Michael Schumacher

FIA president Jean Todt with Michael Schumacher

It’s still early days for the Jean Todt presidency – but we’ve seen a few telling developments at the FIA in the last few weeks.

We’re monitoring Todt’s progress to see whether F1 fans think he is doing a good job. Join in below.

FIA developments since the last approval rating

Purnell and Donnelly

We’ve seen some minor but potentially significant developments since the first approval rating at the beginning of January.

The departure of two key figures from the Mosley era – Tony Purnell and Alan Donnelly – suggests we will see a different approach from Todt to handling FIA business compared to what we saw from Mosley.

Bernard Niclot has joined Gilles Simon as one of the faces of Todt-era Ferrari now employed by the FIA.

Read more: Budget cap architect Purnell leaves FIA

The Briatore appeal

After Flavio Briatore won his court case over his lifetime ban from motor sport the FIA confirmed it would appeal.

But, significantly, it stepped down from its earlier demand that drivers represented by Briatore could not compete in F1. We’ve seen brinkmanship like this from the FIA in the past, and it’s encouraging to see it’s not being repeated.

However Todt is still left with the problem of how the FIA can punish Briatore – and future transgressors – given the limits of its power, which the Tribune de Grande Instance made so stark.

Read more

“Improving the show”

The latest raft of changes to the F1 rules have not yet been given the blessing of the World Motor Sports Council. But they are a consequence of Todt’s request for further ideas to “Improve the show” in 2010.

Frankly I hope he throws out the “top ten drivers must start the race on the same tyres they qualified” nonsense, but that’s just me…

Read more: F1 Commission agrees new 2010 points and double diffuser ban for 2011

How the Approval Rating works

Once a month, F1 fans are invited to vote on the following question: “As an F1 fan, do you approve or disapprove of the way Jean Todt is handling his job as FIA President?”

This is based on the system used in American politics where approval ratings are used to gauge public opinion of how well their president is performing.

Jean Todt’s Approval Rating so far

Date Approve Disapprove No opinion
January 2010 55% 16% 29%

Jean Todt’s Approval Rating: Vote here

Is Jean Todt doing a good job? Vote below and have your say in the comments:

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

  • Approve (57%)
  • Disapprove (14%)
  • No opinion (29%)

Total Voters: 1,272

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Jean Todt’s Approval Rating

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66 comments on Jean Todt’s Approval Rating II (Poll)

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  1. 000o00 said on 7th February 2010, 10:13

    I still believe it is early days yet to judge Todt.

    I’m a bit in the dark as to who actually approves the new changes to the f1 rules, and how Todt fits in to that?

    And i agree – the tyre rule is just creating an artificial element to he show and should be dropped for something a bit more substantial.

    And while they are at it, please fix the points system up again… what ever happened to only the top 6 finishers getting the points…..

    • LewisC said on 7th February 2010, 22:10

      what ever happened to only the top 6 finishers getting the points…

      Wasn’t really fair that only the top 25% or so of runners got points (admittedly, at the time reliability and therefore the number of finishers wasn’t so high). Now nearly 40% will get points – I don’t think the new system’s perfect but it’s a fairer reward for the weekend’s effort.

  2. George said on 7th February 2010, 10:25

    I voted approve, although that was pretty much based entirely on the Donnelly dismissal.

    As far as ‘improving the show’ goes, pretty much everyone in FOTA/FIA wants this to happen, not just Totd. Hell even Ross Brawn (usually the voice of reason) said he thought the qualifying tires thing was a good idea to ‘improve the show’.

    • That’s what I don’t understand. I think half the team principals don’t understand anymore that F1 should be a sport, not a “show”. Cars should qualifying flat out, and then get to find the fastest way to the black and white flag.

      I’ll hold off on voting on Todd until I see if the new tyre rule gets thrown out or not.

      • Airborne Williams Cap said on 7th February 2010, 13:05

        Don’t they realise that if they get the sport right, the “show” will take care of itself.

        If they want to attract new fans, the only thing the FIA/FOTA need to change is to define a set of regs that enable the cars to follow each other closely and to overtake. Once they achive this, the endless rule tweaks and gimmicks can be consigned to the bin.

      • I too agree that F1 should be a sport; not a show; a market place or a spending competition.

    • Icthyes said on 7th February 2010, 13:36

      I voted approve, although that was pretty much based entirely on the Donnelly dismissal

      Same here, I thought it showed Todt is at least trying not to be Max v2.0

      I disapprove of the daft “improve the show” gimmicks and changes, but as you say these aren’t limited to Todt, so it would be unfair to blame him. However, if they go through and screw up the racing, I’ll change to disapproving of Todt – he is the President, after all.

  3. Great article Keith. I actually quite like looking at the politics of F1.
    I put approve, that’s not to suggest that I agree with any new thing but that overall I think he’s doing a good job.
    The tyre rule is wrong in my opinion, I agree changes need to be made so I’m happy there is a movement for change even if I don’t agree with it.
    Todt waa given a nightmare with the whole Briatore case; the FIA mucked up before he was even in charge and he has been left to clean up while having to watch Briatore pretty much escape punishment. So his presidency is getting the grief for something which happened under Mosley. He’s handled it well and not blown it out of all proportion, we don’t need more shouting on that issue.
    I really don’t care if former Ferrari people now work in the FIA. It has its positives of Todt knowing who he can trust to get the job done, having experience with these people and knowing they are good enough and look at what Ferrari achieved under these people-some things went wrong but overall it was highly successful. It’s just like a promotion and I don’t at all understand the Ferrari favouritism arguments, sure complain if it has happened as it would be wrong for any favouritism but there’s no point criticising when there has been no evidence of it. It’s just saying ‘well there is the potential for this…’ but there is the potential for anything so I’m not going to worry about something that may or not happen.

    • Pfft you’re just Ferrari biased :-P hehe no, I do actually agree with you partially, so far there’s not much proof of Ferrari biased, although I’m pretty sure there’s a good chance there will be if he just keeps hiring Ferrari guys because they’ll always have some form of alliance to the team even if it’s purely subconscious. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out though, it’s a little too early yet to call bias on his part.

      I for one really don’t like the silly qualifying tyre rule. What’s the point?! Why not wait and see if qualifying works well this year using what tyres they like with hardly any fuel so the fastest guy is pole. IF it doesn’t work THEN change the rules. If they just keep changing rules they wont know which of them work and which don’t.

      I voted no opinion on Todt yet, still feeling like there’s positives and negatives so I’ll hold out a little longer before I make up my mind.

      • I don’t think a few Ferrari people is wrong obviously I don’t want them all to be from Ferrari as that would be ridiculous.
        Agree with all of your points really.

        • There is no problem at the moment with Todt hiring former Ferrari personal if they are the best people for the job, the problem will be if there is another dispute involving Ferrari which the FIA has to pass judgement on.

          Regardless of the decision, if some think the outcome favours Ferrari they will blame the ex-Ferrari regime at FIA, if some think Ferrari are hard done by they will say that Todt acted harshly to try and avoid allegations of favouritism.

    • Icthyes said on 7th February 2010, 13:39

      I agree with what you say about the Briatore case but now it is up to Jean to bring in new regulations like the licensing of team officials to prevent it from happening again. If he doesn’t then the praise he deserves for handling the affair will disappear.

    • Ned Flanders said on 7th February 2010, 14:35

      Just ignore the trolls everyone.

      I voted approve again, not much to say about Todt at the moment. This ‘approval rating’ system should be really interesting once the season gets going and the FIA has some big decisions to make

  4. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th February 2010, 10:45

    Comment from Ali moved here

  5. I can’t say I disagree with anything the FIA has done since the last approval rating article, but I fear the “improving the show” changes will be rubber stamped by the World Motor Sports Council though.

    It is probably still too early to properly judge Todt’s presidency but so far I don’t think he has done much wrong yet.

  6. James_mc said on 7th February 2010, 11:25

    He’s been quiet and out of the way. Not lording it over F1 at the expense of other categories like someone used to do…

  7. I can’t approve someone so close to Ferrari and the old regime. It stinks.

    • you can’t hate the guy more than me, but we shouldn’t forget the guy get’s the job done, so give the guy a chance. And don’t forget he was more or less kicked out from the scuderia. And they hired the pilot he never wanted there.

      • I believe Todt has gone out of his way to distance himself from the Mosley era. He’s a pretty bright bloke and very well aware of the two major dangers confronting him.
        1. His former association with the Mosley regime.

        2. His former assocation/employment with Ferrari.

        Both these links could destroy his credibility. He’s probably onlty too well aware of that. Mosley certainly did him no favours in the last months in FIA.

        So…low profile…talk to everybody, listen to everybody ( including the idiots )
        …speak sofly, and carry a big stick. Let’s cut him some slack for a season eh ?

        The only words I’d like to whisper in Msr Todt’s ear are…’if you had any understanding of the sheer scale of insensate fury the words ‘improving the show’ induce in the great mass of REAL F1 fans, you’d make it a firing offence for anybody connected with the FIA to ever use that bloody lousy phrase !’

        It’s the pinnacle of world motor racing, not a show !

        • HounslowBusGarage said on 8th February 2010, 9:32

          “The only words I’d like to whisper in Msr Todt’s ear are…’if you had any understanding of the sheer scale of insensate fury the words ‘improving the show’ induce in the great mass of REAL F1 fans, you’d make it a firing offence for anybody connected with the FIA to ever use that bloody lousy phrase !’”
          Nicely put. I agree 100%.

  8. rampante said on 7th February 2010, 12:31

    I think Todt has had a positive start by keeping a much lower profile and not having something to say every hour of the day. He will always be attacked because of his previous ties with Ferrari but that has to be expected by so called fans who feel nothing but hate( or jealously) of them. Would the FIA be criticized in the same way if the president was an ex Honda/Mclaren/BMW/Williams employee? I don’t think so. I may be on my own here but I think people like Patrick Head, Alain Prost, Nikki Lauda and Jackie Stewart should all be in some kind of steering group to improve the sport but that might be to sensible for Bernie and the likes. I like many do not like the tyre rule and put it down to another change for changes sake of which there has been too many over the years.

    • You improve greatly on my remarks Rampante !

    • maciek said on 7th February 2010, 19:23

      “if the president was an ex Honda/Mclaren/BMW/Williams employee? I don’t think so”

      Well, that’s not quite the whole picture though, is it? It’s not the fact of Todt’s former association with Ferrari, as such, that some people, find ‘touchy’. It’s what Todt did while he was at Ferrari and how the FIA acted (or was perceieved) to act towards Ferrari while Todt was there that make many people wary of his occupying a post that is suppoed to be objective and neutral. I’m sure this all gets tiresome for Ferrari fans, but you can’t dispute the fact that during his tenure with the team, Todt made some blatantly un-sporting decisions.

      • rampante said on 7th February 2010, 20:10

        I keep forgetting every team in the history of F1 except Ferrari have been squeaky clean.
        Do I have to list the misdemeanors of the others?

        • maciek said on 7th February 2010, 20:16

          @rampante – that’s not the point. Ron Dennis isn’t the FIA president, Jean Todt is.

          • rampante said on 7th February 2010, 20:56

            I never mentioned Ron Dennis, you have assumed.

          • Hairs said on 8th February 2010, 3:06

            If the name of the team involved wasn’t “Ferrari” but “Argle Bargle McFluffypants F1″, and the situation was the same, then the criticism would be the same.

            Ruling body A gives preferential treatment to Team B for several years. The boss of Team B is reknowned for biased actions. The boss of Team B is a good friend of the boss of Body A, and gets “handed” the job under some dubious conditions and bullying of the membership of Body A. Boss B then starts hiring a bunch of people that used to work for him.

            Change teams, names, sports, if you want, it’s not a jibe against Ferrari, (although it helps that it’s the sort of thing people assume they would do, given the chance) that’s the nuts of the argument, and it’s something that should be watched out for, very closely.

          • maciek said on 8th February 2010, 8:30

            @Rampante – please, there’s no need to get into a ‘thing’ here. Ron Dennis is the obvious name that comes to mind, isn’t it?

            I think Hairs has put it as best it can be put.

  9. Hairs said on 7th February 2010, 13:03

    I put No Opinion because I think the good is being balanced out by the bad. Look at the decisions so far:

    Get rid of Donnelly & Purnell.
    + No more Donnelly.
    + The start of removing Max’s cronies.
    – Purnell is an engineer who came up with ideas, the fact that Max turned one of his ideas into a catfight is not his fault.
    – Moving his own cronies and ex-Ferrari staff in instead.

    Back down the rhetoric over Briatore
    + Less stupid chest thumping and bravado.
    + Drivers from other teams not being punished for someone else’s cheating.
    – What choice did he have? None.
    – Less but not “none”.
    – Still no sign of an actual investigation, or Piquet the scumbag being punished – since the original judgement is invalid, there’s no reason not to go back to it.

    Change the stewarding system
    + Can see the obvious.
    – Don’t know who the stewards are going to be or how they’ll be chosen.
    + No more Donnelly.
    – Hasn’t seen the obvious problems with Race Control & Charlie Whiting (for one, total lack of feedback for teams who are querying something – see Adelaide/Kobi in Brazil).

    Let the Sporting Working Group & Technical Working Group do their jobs
    + At last the people who actually know what’s involved are being asked for an opinion without having to bully their way in.
    – Said opinions may not be any more useful than their predecessors, or more pertinently, ours.

    Never forget, Max was at first a sane, reasonable, balanced President with a clear agenda for fixing things that were obviously broken. I shall bide my time and see how many Ferrari or ex-Todt staff start getting new employment.

    • Mark Hitchcock said on 7th February 2010, 15:19

      Agree pretty much 100%

      My “No opinion” is leaning more towards approval than disapproval because the worse decision recently was the new tyre rule, and I don’t really blame him for that.

      He’s certainly still better than Mosley.

    • But I’m a very big fan of Argle-Bargle Mc FluffypantsF1 ! Why pick on them ? You are SOooo biased ! Hmmmmmppffff !

  10. keith you forgot to mention the effort he is making to increase exposure on wrc. I think he wants to leave a legacy, fans can remember.
    I never liked the guy, since his dakar days, when he decided the outcome flipping a coin,the ferrari days was just to much to bear, but the guy is a professional. He is much better than mosley already.

  11. I really didn’t want him to become president because i did think he might favour ferrari and i am a mclaren fan. However so far i approve of the things he has done, he seems to be making alot of changes and also seems to care more about the racing and what the fans think, although i do agree that the top 10 start on quali tyres is rubbish. But other than that so far so good.

  12. It’s almost like the Obama-after-Bush era. As long as the man doesn’t do anything incredibly stupid or wrong, he’ll be hailed as the savior of F1 and will be nominated for F1’s nobel peace prize, if there was anything like that.

    We’re so used to seeing conspiracies and petty fights between Mosley and the teams that anything in the opposite direction will be hailed as a great move.

    • three4three said on 8th February 2010, 10:05

      Good parallel there with Obama, you’re right that as long as Todt does reasonably all right even if a little mediocre or nothing special, he’ll automatically be a great improvement on his predecessor and will be hailed as a success.

  13. Aleksandar Serbia said on 7th February 2010, 13:51

    Champ car suggestion anyone…

    Damn it, the show that stole the show was in front of us in the 90’s, i am a born and institutionalized F1 fan, but i was thrilled to watch Champcar, back in the day with Zanardi, Montoya,Tracy,Franchitti and the rest of the gang, they didn’t have the f1 tech but had the best of both worlds, and you can tell, even on the short straights, overtaking was possible, since they didn’t allow aero grip to be that of a f1 car but concentrate on mechanical grip!
    Then champ car does what it shouldn’t, it tries to copy F1, the cars look alike and look what happens, they loose the show!
    Todt should concentrate on testing cars in a short straight, say Hungaroring, try to give engine more air while the cars are in the stream of another, so they don’t loose so much air and overheat the engine!
    If they succeed, one could tag along one or a small pack of cars for a bigger period of time and not to worry of engine failure!
    Champ car copied F1 from the early days, and it payed off, the problem is they were trying to compete with sponsors against a global F1 and failed miserably, but their show was much more appealing than ours!!!

    • Aussie Racer said on 7th February 2010, 14:28

      Aleksandar, I couldn’t agree more. Champcar in the 90’s/early 2000’s was brilliant racing. Everything you wrote was spot on. I adore Formula 1 but 90s Champcar is a great template.

  14. Aussie Racer said on 7th February 2010, 14:19

    I have 2 ideas to improve overtaking…

    1. Steel brakes: longer braking distances.
    2. (a bit left field I know)Change the surface in the braking areas.

    Ideally in a perfect world I’d like the tracks changed to bring back overtaking in long fast sweepers possibly with agressive camber or banking on the outside or with big elevation changes like Spa,Road America, Mont Tremblant(Canada). But they’re probably seen as too dangerous. Although Portimao has managed it.

    What do you guys think?

    • Yeah…we need a Laguna Seca Corkscrew at every other track….that’d sort the men from the boys !

      FIA official would get all weak at the knees with even the thought of such danger !

  15. I can’t help but feel that F1 ‘missed a trick’ with the budget cap rules (but not the two tier rules). Same old same old I guess. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    Todt is now doing a great job by appearing to be doing nothing at all. Which means that Bernie and the teams are now coming up with even crazier ideas than Max did, and the FIA just rubber stamp them if all the teams agree on them. Well, that’s democrasy demonstrating that it is possible for everyone to agree on the wrong thing, when what is really needed is someone with guts to do the right thing.

    Here’s hoping!

    • George said on 7th February 2010, 15:04

      That’s pretty much what Bernie said about F1 needing a dictator, but give the man a chance, he’s only been there a few months

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