Jean Todt’s approval rating (Poll)

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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?

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

Total Voters: 941

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Read more: Jean Todt vs Ari Vatanen (Poll)

Image via makeroadssafe on Flickr – official website

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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

  1. 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?

    1. 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…

    2. 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.

      1. Perhaps what F1 needs is not so much a Danica Patrick but a TJ Patrick?

  2. 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!

    1. 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
    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?

    1. 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. Way too early to tell yet…

    1. 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.

        1. 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. 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…

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

      1. 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….

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

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

      1. No – the WTCC is.

  8. 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. 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. 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?

    1. 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. 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. 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.

    1. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  16. Going on the codicil “so far”, I voted approve. Mssr. Todt has kept a low profile-very welcome after Spanky-and has put some potentially very good things in motion. Hopefully this sort of governance will continue.

    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?

    If he were Mosley Version II, well then most likely yes! :)

  17. I voted approve- so far. This is what I’ve wrote on the forum about him over the last couple of weeks:

    o Everything he’s done so far has been perfectly sensible.

    o The fact that there have been all these changes yet we have barely heard his name mentioned shows how good a job he’s been doing. Mosley was in the news every few days!

    o They say a good football referee is one that never gets mentioned. Perhaps it’s the same with FIA Presidents.

    But he was quoted as saying this…

    ‘…my predecessor Max Mosley made great efforts to reduce costs, but it was not enough, especially as some teams were resistant…’

    … which I said ‘Sounds a bit like something the ol’ Spankmeister might have whispered in his ear’.

  18. I didn’t like the new point system.But I respect the fact that there will be ex driver as race steward.

  19. so far I approve. It must be noted that he has not done that much yet and it may all turn out to be lies, but Todt is a businessman at heart, and not really a racing man so I actually think he’ll pull through with his statements.

    I actually think he will hold very little favouritism for Ferrari, Mercedes, Brawn or Schumacher. Vatenen would have been good because he was impartial and a racing man, but Todt I believe will be impartial. Max failed completely in this respect and I think its the single most important requirement for a head of sport. Here’s hoping for the new year

    1. I’d say Todt has a fairly comprehensive racing pedigree. I mean how many titles has he won in both of the FIA’s formost championships? huh…

      If the man could pull together the absolute mess that was Ferrari at the beggining of the 90’s then he might just be able to rescue the FIA an motorsport.

    2. @sw6569 – you trust businessmen? have you ever listened to BE changing opinions faster than his wife used to change moods! Anyway all three are racers first and businessmen later – Mosley owned a team, Vatanen raced the WRC and Todt managed teams in both WRC and F1 – may be that is the fundamental problem with the sport; its run by its own, people who are incapable of thinking outside the box.

  20. So far so good.

  21. Well we need to start somewhere, I voted approve because he hasn’t done anything very wrong yet. I think there has been a realisation from all involved parties that after last year F1 needs some stability. So Todt will adapt a more stealthy position and the teams will be less contentious with the FIA and i’ll bet the stewarding will be far less debateable. If Todt can manage this situation and stop the F1 boat from rocking he will get my approval all season.

  22. So far he has done one good thing and one pointless thing.

    The good thing, overhauling the stewards process, however if I remember correctly this was a Max Mosely idea from before the 2009 season started and is not a brand new one that he came up with. So while its a good idea, lets not get too carried away with the credit as it wasn’t his idea.

    As for the points change, it is pointless because it has little effect. In 2009 4 wins and a DNF would net you 40 points, while 5 second places would also give you 40 points. In 2010, 4 wins and a DNF will win you 100 points, while the same 5 second places will also give you 100 points. So I don’t see how this really helps to give a greater reward to winning over consistency – which is what F1 fans have been asking for.

    Headline grabbing is all good and well, but so far he’s overshadowed a much needed overhaul in the stewarding of F1 races by agreeing to the introduction of a change that was not required or asked for.

    1. I completely agree. So I’ve voted no opinion for now. It’s too early to judge. If he is successful in making the stewarding more consistent and transparent then I’d say he’s doing a good job. But we wont know that until the season’s under way.

      1. The purpose of the new points system isn’t to make the winning margin greater. Infact it’s the opposite, as they wanted to keep the proportions the same as in previous years to stop the whole “Well in this year, this guy would have been champion instead!” thing. The new points system is intended to give the lower teams, especially the new ones, a better chance of scoring points due to the increased grid size and increased reliability.

      2. Sorry about the extra post but this just came back into my memory. The points system isn’t even the FIA’s idea anyway. It was thought up during a meeting between the teams (not sure when or where but Im sure someone can back me up on this) and then submitted to the FIA to be rubber stamped.

        1. You could be right Woffin about whose idea it was, but I was under the impression it was an FIA suggestion that the teams voted on and then the FIA passed it. The reason I say this is that not all teams are fans of the idea, which you’d think they’d have needed to be if it had been FOTA led.

          And as Katy said, its too early to say for sure if Todt is going to be good for F1 or not, but he is going to have to up his game as at the moment he is firmly in the middle ground with no sign of being either good or bad for the sport.

        2. Tbh, I don’t have anything against the new points system. I would much prefer a bigger margin between a first and second, but it’s not looking like that will happen. I like that the points go down to 10th place as it will give the lower teams something to aim for, and we will hopefully see some great mid field battles :)

    2. The new points system, I believe is a good improvement over the earlier one.

      The 10-6-4 system became out-dated once the reliability of cars improved by leaps and bounds in the late 90s/early 2000s. It worked before due to the high number of retirements.

      But as reliability improved, the 10-6-4 system tilted in advantage of the guy who had a fast car (and reliable, obviously). The 10-8-6 system, allowed the 2nd placed guy with little more chance, thus rewarding his reliability.

      And with the grid being expanded to 26 cars (increase by 30%), shouldn’t the point scoring positions also increase proportionally? Otherwise, whats in the sport for the new teams?

      I voted “approve” precisely for this new points system. For the stewarding overhaul, I will wait for the first 2 races before giving a verdict.

  23. I voted approve at the moment as I think what Todt has done is in the right direction.

    He’s yet to prove that he will carry on making right decisions and also will remain impartial – hiring another ex ferrari guy is not going to help matters, even if the FIA are impartial the rumours & talk is going to be far worse than it ever has been.

  24. Did he help JV get on Sauber?

  25. “No Opinion” It’s too early to tell. So many are happy that Max is gone that I think Todt is still in his “Anyone but Max” honeymoon period. Let’s wait and see how he handles more controversial issues such as getting new, “green” tech into F1 and at the same time keeping costs below a certain level, which is what seemed to kill KERS.

  26. Well I certainly approve of Alan Donelly getting the kibosh, and putting ex-drivers in as stewwards. So for that I voted agree.

    I also agree that a new points system was required due to the expansion of the grid size, although I’m not 100% on the format that was settled on regardless of who thought of it. Besides, I think any points format is better than the stupid medal idea, so for that I voted agree.

    And while I realise that your poll says so far, the jury is still out on so many things so we’ll see how Mr Todt fares in his end of year assessment, shall we?

  27. He’s doing good work!! Thumbs up to him!!

  28. I voted ‘no opinion’ for the same reason as Pengo (and others) It’s too soon to tell.

  29. I think this series of articles is a good idea, but at the moment he hasn’t done enough for me to make my mind up either way.

    The most high profile thing so far has been the new points system, and that seemed to be rushed without thinking it through properly, that is the only thing I can think of to explain the anomaly of seventh place.

    Apart from that the other changes mentioned in the article seem like a step in the right direction though.

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