Tag Archives: Jean

F1weekly podcast # 386

Jean Todt

Jean Todt is the new president of the FIA

Jean Todt: Born February 25, 1946 in the commune of Pierrefort in the Cantal department of France, his ancestry being French and Polish, Todt’s motorsport career began when he took his father’s Mini Cooper S for a ride with a friend. Thence he moved to various driving roles in rally series, but decided his strength was as a co-driver; he continued as such with the Peugeot Talbot Sport rally team until his retirement from competition in 1981.

The team moved Todt into a management-oriented position, charging him to organize the design and construction of the 205 Turbo 16 for the 1984 World Rally Championship season. After a slow start, the 205 won the world title in 1985 and 1986; other Todt-managed models continued to dominate, winning rally championships, hill climbs, and with the highly successful Peugeot 905, the Le Mans 24 hours and the World Sportscar Championship, into the 1990s. Peugeot, despite Todt’s continual urging, refused to enter the Formula One Championship, and when a position opened at the Ferrari F1 team, Todt took the opportunity in 1993.

Todt was the first senior appointment of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo who had been placed in charge of a once legendary team which “had become something of a joke. The Todt/di Montezemolo leadership hired Michael Schumacher in 1996, with whom came strategist Ross Brawn, and designer Rory Byrne. The Independent credited Todt with melding this combination “into a cohesive structure devoid of the polemics which were so rife. The fortunate combination produced a nearly-unbeatable team. Todt and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo have since been considered responsible for turning Ferrari from a has-been team, helpless without founder Enzo Ferrari, into the powerhouse it is today.

Following much speculation as to FIA President Max Mosley’s impending retirement, rumors arose in 2004 to the effect that Todt would run for the office. Mosley commented that though Todt would make an excellent president, he was quite happy at Ferrari; however, it had long been assumed that when Michael Schumacher retired from F1, Todt would leave his job. In an apparent bid to maintain Todt’s loyalty, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo promoted Todt to the head of the entire Ferrari operation, including street car production.

He remained as the Team Principal of the Scuderia F1 Team for one more season, and was replaced by Stefano Domenicali on 1 January 2008, however he still remained as CEO of Ferrari. On March 17, 2009, it was announced that Todt had resigned, leaving Ferrari completely.

The French government has made Todt a Chevalier of its Legion d’Honneur. He was further honoured with the Grand Officier rank of the honour in January 2007. Also, in July 2006, Todt was given the official Malaysian royal title of ‘Datuk’ by Sultan of Terengganu, which is the Malaysian equivalent of a British knighthood he is now widely addressed in Malaysian media as Datuk Seri Jean Todt.


F1weekly podcast # 383

F1weekly listener Jeff Kline races World Champion Phil Hill


“When I was in High School out here in LA in April of 1962, I had an Austin Healy 100-6 and I was trolling for a race on Sunset Blvd. It is really a cool road course between Beverly Hills and the 405 Fwy. I got into a race with a guy in a 1961 Buick Special station wagon – the one with the little V8 engine that eventually ended up in Rovers. We were going at it hard and I could just keep up with this shitty American family wagon. When we got to Beverly Glen and stopped at the light – I looked over and it was Phil Hill – straight from winning the F1 World Championship. He turned left and I raced home, put pen to paper and wrote him a letter – do I have talent? How can I be race driver? etc, etc. Almost 2 years later I got a return letter – the really cool part of this is that I always treasured and kept the letter. I was racing in the Monaco Historics in 2002 and I know Phil was also entered. I brought the letter with me and he was kind enough to sign it again and he seemed to get a real kick out of it”.

F1weekly would like thank Jeff Kline for sharing this and other motor racing memories from his professional racing days in our podcast # 383.

Podcast number 383 Interview with Jeff Kline.


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Former Renault F1 team sporting director Jean Sage  dies at the age of 68.

jean sageJean Sage came from a wealthy background and was a collector of Ferraris, making his competition debut at the age of just 20 years old co-driving a Ferrari 250 with André Simon. He also co-drove for Jean-Pierre Hanrioud and Gérard Larrousse while competing in Formula Three through the early 1960s. Then in 1973 along with Larrousse and Paul Archambeaud, they established the Écurie Elf team Switzerland. Archambeaud was a Swiss Mercedes-Benz dealer at the time. They began work building sportscars, but soon switched focus to the European Formula Two Championship series where they guided Jean-Pierre Jabouille to the 1976 championship.

When Larrousse was recruited by Renault, he hired Sage to run the newly forming F1 team in 1977. He oversaw the running of the team right from its debut at the 1977 British Grand Prix, through the first win at the 1979 French Grand Prix, the glory years of Alain Prost and René Arnoux—when the French squad was fought for the World Championships in 1982 and 1983—and its withdrawal at the end of the 1985 season. Sage stayed with Renault until the end of 1987, when it stopped supplying its turbo engines to other teams.

After Renault, Sage went to manage the running of Ferrari F40’s in the IMSA GT series through 1989 and 1990 with even Jean Alesi racing for the team. Into his later life he remained an active Ferrari collector and competitor in classic racing events, before his death on October 8, 2009.

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