FIA President Jean Todt – and former Ferrari Formula 1 team principal – receives his own Richard Mille tribute watch, the G-Sensor RM-036 Jean Todt Edition.
Austria, 2002. One year on from a team orders debacle that rocked Formula 1 and left its second driver Rubens Barrichello incredibly dis-chuffed about sacrificing a well-earned second-place, Ferrari had gone one step further. And, it turns out, too far.
Barrichello, the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix in his pocket from lap one, was ordered by Ferrari team boss Jean Todt to move over and let teammate Michael Schumacher through to take the win ‘for the championship’. A rather awkward podium took place (amid much boo-ing from the capacity crowd), but Schumacher would ultimately go on to win the driver’s Championship that year. With six races still to run. Had the A-1 Ring unpleasantness really been worth it? Either way, Ferrari boss Todt’s name remained mud until he left the team in 2009.
Amazing how a decade can change a profile. Now FIA President, Todt has been a key player in the FIA’s ‘Action for Road Safety’ campaign, which this new Richard Mille timepiece honours. Now while tributary watches usually include stars denoting championships won, a case made from the driver’s helmet or a strap made from tyre marbles (or so the PR bilge often proclaims), long-time Le Mans Classic sponsor Richard Mille has kept things simple. A G-Force sensor and one ‘Jean Todt Limited Edition’ moniker on the watch face aside, it’s pretty much your usually exotic Richard Mille fare. Since only 15 examples will be produced, we also assume it will be ruinously expensive.
A commendable cause, certainly, but let’s not forget Todt’s impressive motorsport portfolio. As well as a combined 14 F1 World Championships (driver and team), under the Frenchman’s direction Peugeot secured four World Rally Championship titles, four wins on the Dakar rally, and two 24 Hour of Le Mans victories.
* ORIGINAL POST DATE: August 2012