Over the years, one friendship in Formula 1 remains unchanged. If anything, the friendship between ex-Ferrari boss Jean Todt and Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher has only become stronger with time.
“I’m still his friend,” insisted Todt, who has now become the president of the FIA. It is a position he had been elected to hold in 2009 and again, in 2013. But before that, many Ferrari fans fondly recall Todt’s striking presence in the Ferari paddock.
Todt became the manager of Ferrari’s Racing Division in 1993 after leaving Peugeot. This also marked the time he had entered the world of Formula 1. According to an interview with Auto Bild Motorsport, Todt had come to meet a young Michael Schumacher around this time.
“He wanted to come to Ferrari and Ferrari wanted him,” Todt explained. The FIA president was undoubtedly impressed by Schumacher’s presence. Sadly, a partnership could not materialize as the Maranello-based still had Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger under contract. Nonetheless, Todt kept Schumacher in mind.
“I called him again to make him an offer for 1995, but he declined as he had already decided on Williams,” Todt explained. The following year, the opportunity opened up for Schumacher to finally make the move to Ferrari. And together, Schumacher, Todt and Ferrari made history.
Schumacher came to Ferrari at a time when it badly needed a win. Before his arrival, the last championship Ferrari had in Formula 1 was with Jody Scheckter way back in 1979. As fans would know, things changed for the better for Ferrari that year. They started winning again, not just once but continuously.
“When things go bad, the Italians tend – as we have seen in recent years – to blame each other. The chassis people say it is the engine. The engine people say it is the chassis. Or we do not have the right driver. With Michael, I solved at least one of these problems,” explained Todt. It was quite a rough start, but the team would go on to take the constructors championship for six years in a row. As for Schumacher, he got five of his seven world championships with Ferrari.
Today, as Schumacher continues to recuperate from a serious head injury he sustained nearly two years ago, Todt continues to be a positive presence around his friend. According to a report from Fox Sports, the FIA boss continues to have a relationship with the legendary world champion. Todt has also become a good friend of the family. “My relationship with Corinna and the family has become much more intense. I feel a responsibility to stand by them,” Todt explained.
Today, not much updates has been given about Schumacher condition. But during the opening of Michael Schumacher exhibit in Marburg, Germany last month, the Ferrari legend’s manager, Sabine Kehm, said that hopefully, Schumacher will “one day be back with us.”