Jean Todt’s election as world motorsport supremo was followed Saturday by speculation that Michael Schumacher could be his man for Formula One racing.
The Frenchman Todt was elected president of the governing body FIA Friday over Finland’s Ari Vatanen, taking the helm from Max Mosley.
Todt had the backing of Mosley, Schumacher and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone ahead of the vote at the FIA headquarters in Paris. Schumacher won five of his record seven world titles for Ferrari when Todt was the boss at the famed Italian team.
Todt said he plans to use commissioners for F1, and mentioned Schumacher.
“I want to nominate commissioners because I am not intending to run Formula One as a first person ... Success in my career has always been to have the right people in my teams,” said Todt.
“He (Schumacher) is like a son. There has always been a place for him next to me and there will still be.”
As a result, there was speculation, mainly in Britain, that Schumacher could be Todt’s F1 man.
“Schumacher ... could become a commissioner responsible for Formula One following Todt’s electoral defeat of Ari Vatanen,” said The Guardian.
The Times also mentioned the issue, but cautioned that “informed sources were playing down speculation that the German legend could act as Todt’s first commissioner for the sport.”
Schumacher was on hand in Paris for the election and expressed his belief that Todt’s reign will be good for F1 (and all other FIA areas) after a troublesome relationship between the teams and Mosley over the past years.
“I really believe that with his team-oriented leading style he will bring fresh air which will do the FIA good. He is facing a great challenge now but I have not seen any challenge yet which he was not up to. My congratulations to him!” Schumacher said on his website.
Schumacher is a Ferrari advisor since his retirement from racing in 2006, but remains a big name in the sport.
A planned comeback for injured Felipe Massa caused a huge stir and excitement in the sports world, but a neck injury eventually denied him the racing.