By Alan Baldwin
PARIS (Reuters) – Jean Todt was re-elected unopposed as president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), Formula One’s governing body, for a further four-year term on Friday with a new role for his former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.
The 71-year-old Frenchman, confirmed for a third term on a show of hands at the FIA General Assembly in Paris, told reporters he represented continuity when the sport is facing big challenges.
Formula One, with U.S.-based Liberty Media taking over the commercial rights last January, is entering a potentially turbulent period with team contracts expiring in 2020 and a new engine format to be agreed.
Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has already threatened to pull the sport’s oldest and most successful team out of the sport if commercial and technical changes are not to their liking.
Todt will lead a re-structured team with American Nick Craw, president of the Senate that oversees the federation’s management and finances, stepping down and replaced by New Zealander Brian Gibbons.
There is also a role for Massa, the Brazilian veteran who left Formula One last month after one final season with Williams.
Massa, whose career has been managed by Todt’s son Nicolas and who was with Todt senior at Ferrari when the Frenchman was in charge of that team, takes over as head of the FIA’s go-karting commission CIK-FIA.
“Motorsport is in quite a healthy situation but we know that there is a lot that we still need to achieve,” Todt said.
“We have the pyramid of single seaters: Formula Four, Formula Three, Formula Two and Formula One which is something that did not exist in the past.
“We want to have the pyramid at all levels of motorsport,” he added.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)