Michael Schumacher has written an open letter to the FIA member clubs reiterating his support for Jean Todt in the FIA presidential election, insisting that the former Ferrari team boss will implement major changes.
The seven-time World Champion said he was eager to dispel perceptions that the FIA under Todt would work in the same vein as under current president Max Mosley, who has endorsed Todt as his favored successor, and that therefore Todt's rival Ari Vatanen was the candidate for those who sought a fresh era. Schumacher is adamant that Todt is his own man and will make his own mark on the governing body.
"I know that there are some people who say that Jean's presidency would be a continuation of Max's leadership," he wrote.
"I can only tell these people [Vatanen supporters] that they do not know Jean. He has his own expert knowledge, his own agenda and his own leadership style. From my experience, he will implement his plans for the FIA in his own way, as a team player."
Schumacher believes that the FIA does need to change under its new leader.
"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," said Schumacher. "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 deeply feel it is time for some changes, but these changes must be managed carefully by someone as skillful 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."
He also feels that Todt will be a conciliatory president and will be willing to delegate power.
"His characteristics such as leadership, loyalty, commitment and knowledge are beyond question, but in my view his outstanding skill is the encouragement of teamwork. In my active racing days I have experienced his willingness to share and delegate to a great and successful extent," Schumacher said. "In many conversations we have had recently, I have understood how detailed and thoughtful Jean's policy program is. I have also understood that he will bring about the many changes he is preparing for in his very own way – through building consensus with all of the many stakeholders; rather than through confrontation. He will work as part of a team of experts, for the benefit of the world of sport and mobility."