FIA president Jean Todt will view his first Indianapolis 500 in the company of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NTT IndyCar Series owner Roger Penske, and ACCUS president George Silbermann. The Frenchman, who leads the powerful global motor racing sanctioning body, received a tour of the modernized facility on Saturday, and shared his thoughts afterwards.
“I am privileged to come here and meet with my friend George Silbermann, and Roger Penske, and all the team,” Todt (pictured at right, above, with Penske) told RACER associate Gustavo Rosso of IndyCarLatinos.com. “The Indy facility is absolutely outstanding. I was saying earlier to Roger that Le Mans is a small city, living for the 24 Hours. It’s the same for Indy. Indy is known all around the world for the city and top race, the Indy 500.
“I had the opportunity when I was running Ferrari to come here with Formula 1. Last time was difficult in 2005 with tire issues, but it was an interesting circuit. In my capacity as president of the FIA, I was quite keen to come and give the mark of respect for all they are doing in this unprecedented time. Also, we had a privilege to go to the museum. Among the best cars on the planet are there.”
With Liberty Media’s ownership of Formula 1’s commercial rights, any deals for the series to return to Indianapolis would need to be done between Penske and Liberty CEO Chase Carey. Once an agreement was produced, the FIA would vote to ratify the event as part of F1’s calendar.
“To see all the work since Roger Penske has taken over since last January, a lot has been invested to make the circuit one of the best racing facilities around the world,” Todt added. “I’m very excited to see the race; it’s the first time I will have the opportunity to watch the race live. It’s a different feeling. It’s a race where you (normally) have 300,000 spectators, but with no spectators, is unique.”