Jean Todt Named Inaugural Autosport Gold Medal Winner
The new distinction recognizes a person who has devoted his whole life to the service of sport and who leaves a lasting legacy for future generations.
The outgoing FIA president’s success was announced on February 6 at the Autosport Awards, which returned to a live event at Grosvenor House on Park Lane after the 2020 online-only competition due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Thank you to Autosport for hosting this great event for so many years and for this award,” said Todt, who was joined on stage by Derek Warwick, one of his drivers who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 1992 at Peugeot.
“I’ve loved cars all my life, it was my passion and my dream and actually I didn’t have the career I expected, but hoped for. But if I look back at the 55 years I’m quite happy!
“When things go wrong that’s what makes us strong, when we learn and that’s where I learned.”
Todt also received video messages from Haas F1 driver Mick Schumacher, 11-time Grand Prix winner Felipe Massa and 1992 F1 world champion Nigel Mansell.
Later in the ceremony, Todt also received tributes from current F1 chief Stefano Domenicali and Formula E chief architect Alejandro Agag for his efforts as FIA president, after completing his tenure at the helm of the world motorsport body in December.
“I was very happy to have a strong and united team behind me at the FIA, creating strong categories like Formula E, new rally championships and acknowledging the junior single-seater ladder,” added Todt, who later joined by his son Nicolas and his wife Michelle Yeoh. .
Todt began his motorsport career as a rally co-driver in 1966. The Frenchman sat on the FIA Rally Commission, an organization he would later lead, and was a successful co-driver.
His greatest accomplishments as a competitor came after his time in management. He created the Peugeot Talbot Sport Team in 1981 and guided it to four World Rally Championships with the 205 T16 Group B. He also orchestrated Peugeot’s success in the Paris-Dakar Rally.
Chase Carey, Non-Executive Chairman, Formula 1, and Jean Todt, Chairman, FIA, on the grid
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Todt then launched Peugeot into endurance racing, winning the 1992 and 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans and other world championships.
In 1993, on the recommendation of Bernie Ecclestone, he was recruited by Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo for the role of Ferrari team principal in Formula 1.
After assembling an international ‘dream team’ of engineers, led by Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Paolo Martinelli and securing the sport’s best driver, Michael Schumacher, Ferrari finally won the drivers’ crown in 2000 and won a total of 14 F1 titles to his credit (six drivers and eight constructors), with Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. From 2004 he was also CEO of Ferrari.
Todt ran for FIA president in 2009, winning three successive four-year terms that ended in December 2021.
Notable highlights include the introduction of the Formula E electric racing series, Women in Motorsport commission, halo head protection device, F1 budget cap, Action for Road Safety campaign and affordable $20 helmet for road use in the third world, using motorsport-derived technology. He was also the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety.
Away from cars, Todt has always had a deep interest in medicine. Its foundation, ICM, was established in 2005 and is a world-renowned center for research into spinal cord and brain disorders, and its co-founder, Professor Gérard Saillant, also attended the Autosport Awards.
Other accolades, decided by expert juries, include the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award and the Pioneer and Innovation Award presented by Mahindra Racing incorporating the John Bolster Trophy for Technical Achievement . The other new award for 2021 is Esports Team of the Year presented by Motorsport Games.
Categories decided by fan vote include International Racing Driver of the Year presented by Pirelli, British Competition Driver of the Year, Rookie of the Year, International Racing Car of the Year presented by Blink Experience, Rally Car of the Year, International Rally Driver of the Year, National Driver of the Year and Esports Driver of the Year presented by Motorsport Games.
To find out who our other winners are, visit autosport.com/awards.