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Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 17:55 UK

Schumacher backs Todt presidency

Jean Todt (left) and Michael Schumacher (right)
Todt (left) and Schumacher (right) have been close for many years after their success together at Ferrari

Michael Schumacher has backed Jean Todt in the forthcoming election to be president of the International Motorsport Federation (FIA).

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has written to all FIA member clubs, backing his former Ferrari boss.

"I am convinced Jean is the right person to be the next FIA president of the FIA," said Schumacher.

"Having worked with him for 15 years, I believe I am entitled to say this with such strong certainty."

The election to succeed Max Mosley as the head of motorsport's world governing body takes place on 23 October, with the 63-year-old former Ferrari team chief hot favourite to win against Finnish former world rally champion Ari Vatanen.

laughing gasman

"His characteristics - such as leadership, loyalty, commitment and knowledge - are beyond question, but in my view his outstanding skill is the encouragement of teamwork," said Schumacher.

"In my active racing days, I have experienced his willingness to share and delegate to a great and successful extent."

Todt has been involved in motorsport since 1966 when he was a rally co-driver and won the World Rally Championship, the Le Mans 24 Hours race and the Paris-Dakar rally as head of Peugeot motorsport before joining Ferrari as general manager of their racing division in 1993.

Mosley has been in charge of the FIA for 16 years, and some have suggested that a Todt presidency would be little more than an extension of Mosley's time in office - but Schumacher rejects this suggestion.

"I can only tell these people that they do not know Jean," said the German.

"He has his own expert knowledge, agenda and leadership style. From my experience, he will implement his plans for the FIA in his own way - as a team player.

"Since I stopped driving in Formula 1, I have followed the sport very closely and have read a lot of stories which have done our sport much harm.

"Having worked for the FIA and FIA Foundation on many projects for more than a decade, I may also claim that I am very familiar with the FIA.

"This is why I feel it is time for some changes, but these changes must be managed carefully by someone as skilful as Jean who has formed the right team of people to, on the one hand, appreciate the great achievements of the FIA, and on the other hand, really make change happen."

Earlier this year, Schumacher - who retired at the end of the 2006 season - abandoned plans for a return to the track with Ferrari as a stand-in for the injured Felipe Massa because of a neck injury.

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see also
Vatanen hits back in Mosley row
02 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
F1 infighting must end - Vatanen
10 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Teams call for neutral F1 chief
25 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Todt to stand for FIA presidency
16 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
I will quit presidency - Mosley
15 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Time for change at FIA - Vatanen
11 Jul 09 |  Formula 1

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Guardian Unlimited Todt and Vatanen told to fight fair for presidency - 1 hr ago
Yahoo! Canada Vatanen, Todt asked by FIA to avoid being negative (AP) - 2 hrs ago
CNN Motorsport: Schu backs Todt for top FIA job - 21 hrs ago
Sky Sports FIA - lobbyists within rules - 24 hrs ago
San Francisco Chronicle Schumacher backs Todt for FIA presidency - 33 hrs ago


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