On This Day in #F1: 9th January 2007 – Jean Todt sparks fury

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: The Grumpy Jackal

– 2007: Jean Todt changes career for stand up comedy!!

images1Following the retirement of Michael Schumacher, on this day, Todt declared the new partnership of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen would be treated alike – “It will be healthy for two drivers to compete equally with each other.” For anyone with a non myopic view of Ferrari, the subtle undertones of this quote will confirm exactly what the Schumacher era at Ferrari meant.

For all the haters of the red Mafia , they will twist everything to their way of understanding irrespective of what is written.

In most countries, history books are tools sponsored by the national governments to foster patriotism to the motherland. These books often omit historic ‘facts’ to allow the heritage to be viewed in a favourable light. In Japan, for example, the Nanking Massacre has been removed from the texts completely and even their participation in WW2 is barely mentioned. This form of propaganda is also used within Formula One circles to create any impression a writer or journalist wishes to paint.

Ferrari’s history dates back to the early twentieth century, and their history incorporates both single seater and sports-car racing. This is an important distinction as previous to the growth of Formula One – as the foremost motor-sport in the world – sports car racing dominated the headlines.

Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, the Targa Florio and Daytona all vied with Monaco as the most famous races in the world. Ferrari is a historic tapestry of beautiful cars, brave men and tragedy as well.

Champions such as Nuvolari, Ascari, Fangio, Hawthorn, Hill, Surtees, Lauda and Scheckter received no additional support than their team-mates. They had to prove their ability within the team and sometimes – upon the orders of Enzo – they would receive less than optimum equipment; all in the name of the glory of Ferrari. No driver was allowed to become bigger than the team.

In 1991, after three years in the doldrums, the Fiat empire placed the charismatic Luca Di Montezemolo in charge. He had worked with Ferrari in the mid 70’s and understood the legend better than anyone. Upon a suggestion from Bernie Ecclestone, he hired Jean Todt in 1993 to turn Ferrari around and subsequently he hired Schumacher, Brawn and Byrne.

The rest as they say is history.

The problem with this sort of history is that depending on your source, Todt was either the most brilliant of managers, turning around an ailing behemoth into the yardstick which all teams would be measured by or he was the dictator of a team of charlatans who’s win at all costs mentality re-wrote a glorious history.

imagesTodt and Schumacher shared an almost paternal relationship which countered the very essence of sportsmanship. Irrespective of what was supposedly written into contracts, the truth was Todt had engineered a team to respond to Schumacher’s every demand. It was only with Il Padrino resuming control that Ferrari returned to its sporting roots.

No doubt, some will mention the 2010 German race as proof that Ferrari still embraced the No 1 and No 2 system, but as mentioned previously, this is merely for the people who refuse to believe that Ferrari existed before 1996. Those type of decisions are only possible because of the championship difference between the drivers.

Ferrari have always been about the cars. The drivers are incidental. This is the reason why Todt lost his power struggle against LdM and left soon after.

This is also why – despite being amongst the best of his generation – Alonso was swiftly rebuked back in the summer of 2013 following disparaging remarks made about Ferrari to the press.

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3 responses to “On This Day in #F1: 9th January 2007 – Jean Todt sparks fury

  1. Also remember his career at Peugeot – turning them into the team to beat in Rallying and Le Mans

  2. The old saying ‘ every dog has his day’.

    This particular dog’s had his.
    Long passed his use-by.

  3. It was only after reading a biography of Enzo that I really appreciated the history of Ferrari and the brilliance of Enzo. I was “forced” into being a Ferrari fan when Kimi signed for them lol:) Their actions with Schumacher and then Alonso had really coloured my view of them as being more about the driver than the team…which isn’t at all how it was for most of their history…so what happened last year with Alonso is more like the “old” Ferrari mentality!

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