Michael Schumacher’s family send touching tribute to outgoing FIA president Jean Todt

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The family running Michael Schumacher’s Twitter account has sent Jean Todt a heartfelt message with the Frenchman standing down from the most powerful job in world motorsport. Fourteen-time Middle East rally champion Mohammed Ben Sulayem was elected as the FIA’s new president on Friday, with Todt’s 12 years in the role coming to an end.

Writing on the social media platform, members of Schumacher’s inner circle said: “Celebrating a man who has always had a vision and a great heart.

“Jean, you made your mark in the world of motorsport and you are an inspiration for many around the world in your fight for road safety.

“We are proud to have you at our side. Love from the entire Schumacher family.”

Todt simply replied: “I love you for ever.”

The seven-time world champion and then team principal Todt were a formidable force in the 90s and helped Ferrari to one of the most successful and dominant eras ever seen in Formula One history, and had since been close friends.

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The German won his first world title with Benetton in 1994 and again in 1995. In 1996 Schumacher moved to Ferrari with Todt and went on to win five consecutive world titles from 2000 to 2004 before stepping away from F1 in 2006.

Yet four seasons later he was back alongside Mercedes before he stepped away from the sport for good in 2012.

A year later, the German was involved in a tragic ski accident in the French Alps, and since then the family has chosen to keep much of Schumacher’s condition private.

Yet clearly still close with the family, and Schumacher’s wife Corinna, Todt only recently revealed that he sees the seven-time world champion “at least twice a month”.

“I don’t leave him alone,” Todt said.

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“Him, Corinna, the family — we’ve had so many experiences together. The beauty of what we have experienced is part of us and it goes on.”

Ben Sulayem becomes the first non-European president of motorsport’s world governing body.

Speaking on Friday, he said: “I am very honoured to have been elected FIA President at the conclusion of the Annual General Assembly in Paris today. I thank all the Member Clubs for their esteem and trust.

“I congratulate Graham [Stoker] for his campaign and his engagement to the Federation.

“I wish to express my infinite gratitude in the name of the FIA and that of its Members to Jean Todt for all that has been achieved over the past 12 years.

“I am committed to pursuing the important work and making motorsport and mobility take further steps forward.”

Sulayem has vowed to double motorsport participation, put the best-practice governance structures in place, and strengthen diversity and inclusion in motorsport during his first four years in charge.

Sulayem takes over five days after the highly controversial end to the 2021 season in which Max Verstappen was crowned world champion after beating Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi.

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