Sid Watkins Lecture 2016

Given by Jean Todt, president of the FiA, with questions by James Allen.

Ah but then the lecture was opened up to questions from the floor.  And this is were a few opportunistic journalists sort of, a bit, not really but just slightly hi-jacked proceedings to ask awkward questions.  Which was fun.

Dieter Rencken asked about corruption in sporting bodies.  That got a good reaction from the crowd.  “Dieter, you are volunteering now?  As a marshal?  You should speak to the MSA, I’m sure they would organise a good package for you,” joked the president.

Sexism,’grid boys’, and the crowd sniggered.  Because, I suppose, the crowd was 90% male, forty years plus and all white, by my estimations.  But Todt’s answer, on a day when Susie Wolff and the MSA announced their Dare to be Different campaign, was that women probably aren’t genetically predisposed towards racing.  He mentioned Michelle Mouton, the rally driver who fought Walter Röhrl and who now presides over Todt’s own Women in Motorsport commission, with a kind of dismissive tone, and imagined a female tennis player attempting to beat a male.  Finally, he added that perhaps he is wrong, and we need to find a strong woman driver to prove ‘us’ (yes, collectively) wrong, “but it is not up to me to give her that chance”.

At the end I thanked Jean for an interesting talk.  He looked at me slightly oddly, possibly because I messed up my French, but more likely because I shoved my lecture notes under his nose.


“Merci bien, tres bien, merci”

And he signed them.

Other stories from the talk here:

On being audited

On Michael Schumacher

On 21 race F1 calendar


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