For a man who missed his baccalaureate before giving up his career as a pilot prematurely, Jean Todt negotiated the rest of his career quite well. Former director of Ferrari (5 world championship titles with Michael Schumacher from 2000 to 2004) and former President of the International Automobile Federation (from 2009 to 2021), he is one of the few leaders in world sport whose career justifies a calibrated biographical documentary, broadcast in prime time (Sunday at 9:15 p.m., on Canal+).
Filmed throughout 2021, the last of his last tenure at the FIA, ” The method “produced by Amandine Morhaïm, paints an original portrait of a reputedly secretive Jean Todt.
Collector of trophies, in rally-raid and endurance at Peugeot, as in F1 at Ferrari, Jean Todt is a freak of control. A character trait that does not necessarily predispose to open the doors to cameras. But, at 76, the former rally co-driver obviously assumes to reveal some rough edges. “In life, you must not lose control. If I lose control, I blame myself. It’s a weakness and I try not to have a lot of it.”he admits.
“(With him), there is no room for laxity or excessive tenderness. But, I’ve never seen anyone spend so much time managing their teams. »
Authoritarian, obsessive, endowed with phenomenal gifts in mental arithmetic, Todt sticks, even to caricature, to the image we have of a great creator. ” (His home), there is no room for laxity or excessive tenderness. But, I’ve never seen anyone spend so much time managing their teams.”says Jacky Ickx.
Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher have long teamed up together. (S. Mantey/The Team)
The Belgian driver is a famous loser of the Todt “method”. In 1989, the sporting director of Peugeot sport had summoned Ickx and Ari Vatanen to play the final winner of the Paris Dakar to a coin (victory of the second). Even today, Todt assumes his maneuver, a smirk, fiddling with the 10-franc coin from the draw, which he keeps like a trophy, mounted as a key ring.
Has Jean Todt ever cheated to win? ” Never. Yes, we cheat it falls on you. It means you have accomplices. It means that you will be weakened, because you can be blackmailed. And you should never put yourself in a situation where you can be threatened. responds the former director of Ferrari, as a cold-blooded animal.
He continues to frequent political circles
In hollow, ” The method “ paints the portrait of a man of power, who continues to frequent political circles, notably to talk about road safety, under the label of special envoy of the United Nations. But Todt’s attachment to the Schumacher family, to which he remained close after the driver’s serious accident in December 2013, as well as his commitment to the safety of F1 drivers, testify to his sensitivity and sincerity.
Originally, the release of the Canal+ documentary was to correspond to that of a biography written in collaboration with journalist Brad Spurgeon, but Todt’s requirement delayed the publication of the work. The former FIA boss still has a lot to tell.