jt.jpgName: Jean Todt
Designation: former Ferrari CEO, F1 Team Boss
Nickname: Napolean (at least according to sugarpuff 🙂 )
Born: Pierrefort, France
Birth Date: Feb 26, 1946

Star Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French
Marital Status: Engaged
Jean Todt was born on Feb 26, 1947 in Pierrefort, France and is of partly Polish origin on his father’s side. After completing his primary and secondary education in Paris, he went to college at ‘Ecole des Cadres’ School of Economics and Business in Neuilly, Paris. Todt developed an interest in motor-racing at around this time, and borrowed his father’s Mini Cooper to go rallying along with his friend as a co-driver.

Todt soon embarked on his motor racing career after convincing his father that he wasn’t going to follow in his footsteps and become a doctor. Though he dabbled a bit with being a driver himself, Todt soon realized he was better at being a co-driver and navigating. Todt made a mental resolve before starting his professional rallying career that he would retire at 35 and find other things to do. After a very succesful career in Rallying, Todt stuck to his resolve and retired in 1981, joining Peugeot to create their racing department.

This saw another successful phase of Todt’s new managerial career with Peugeot dominating the World Rally Championship in 85 and 86. In 1989, he expanded Peugeot’s motorsport department to compete in the World Sportscar Championship. Oddly enough, this was roughly the same time as Ross Brawn was designing the Jaguar sportscar and Michael Schumacher was racing with Sauber-Mercedes junior team in the same category. The Peugeot cars started winning in 1991, and went on to win the championship in 1992. Todt was truly proving to be the man with the Midas touch. Everything he touched was turning into gold.

When Peugeot turned down his proposal to enter Formula 1, Todt accepted the challenge from Maranello to turn around the Ferrari Formula 1 team and return its lost glory. Todt took over as Ferrari team boss in the summer of 1993, and despite the internal politics and constant bickering, not to mention the immense pressure from the Italian media, he found an ally in Luca di Montezemolo who trusted Todt could make a difference and supported him. Todt brought in his extraordinary organisational skills as he calmly went about making the necessary changes that would make Ferrari ready to hire a top talent as driver. By 1996, they decided they were ready for the next giant leap and Todt signed Michael Schumacher.

Jean Todt developed a strong bond with Michael over the 96 season as they suffered multiple setbacks, and with the Italian media asking for Todt’s resignation and Todt about ready to give in, it was Michael who spoke out supporting his new team boss threatening to leave Ferrari if Todt was replaced. “When I arrived in Ferrari at the end of 95 I expected many things, but not that I would find a friend for life in Jean Todt” Michael would declare later. Michael won 3 races in 1996, and when Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne joined Ferrari in 97, the dream team headed by Todt was beginning to get forged.

Ferrari won 5 races in 1997, with Michael losing out on the championship rather controversially in the last race (*grin*). McLaren triumphed in 1998 with Hakkinen taking the WDC in the very last race as Schumacher’s car stalled on the starting grid. Things looked on course in 1999 before Michael broke his leg in Silverstone, though Ferrari still managed to win the constructor championship. The jinx was finally broken in 2000 when Ferrari reclaimed the driver championship after 21 years. It also started the Ferrari era, with the team clinching five consecutive driver and constructor championships over the next 5 years, ruthlessly and utterly dominating the sport.

Despite facing a low in 2005, Todt and Ferrari bounced back in 2006 challenging once more for both championships and coming very close to winning both. On Oct 25 2006, Todt was named Ferrari CEO. At the end of a successful 2007 F1 campaign, Jean has finally handed over the reigns of Team Principal to former Sporting Director Stefano Domenicali.

 Jean Todt has one son – Nicholas Todt who manages Felipe Massa. He is currently engaged to Michelle Yeoh.

Jean Todt resigned from all his posts within Ferrari with effect from March 17th 2009, bring to a close a very special era and relationship with the team.