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Todt re-elected as FIA president for third and final term

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Jean Todt will continue in the role of FIA president until the end of 2021 after being re-elected by the governing body’s General Assembly in Paris on Friday.

Todt took up the role of FIA president in 2009, and confirmed earlier this year he would seek a third term, with no other candidates coming forward to oppose him.

Despite running unopposed, Todt nevertheless required confirmation from the FIA General Assembly, which arrived at its final meeting of the year in Paris on Friday.

“It is gratifying to have such universal support. I would like to thank all of the Member Clubs of the FIA for their support,” Todt said.

“I see this as a validation of the direction the FIA has taken under my leadership, and as encouragement to continue the programme we have pursued over the past eight years.”

Todt has confirmed he intends for his third term to be his final one, running for another four years to the end of 2021.

In his acceptance speech, Todt confirmed plans to focus on three main areas for his final term: innovation, advocacy and the development of a strong network of mobility and sport clubs.

“From time to time there are some who challenge this role, and I remind them that Motor Sport will always need a regulator, it will always need fair play, it will always require ethics, and it will always need an independent referee,” Todt said.

“This is the vital role the FIA plays and one it will continue to play in the future. Innovation is essential if the FIA is to continue to improve and take its rightful place in the world as the leader in Mobility and Motorsport development. To encourage this, we propose to establish an FIA Innovation Fund.”

The FIA also confirmed a reshuffling of its senior management under Todt in a statement issued on Friday.

“After eight years as President of the FIA Senate, the body with oversight of the management and finances of the Federation, America’s Nick Craw steps down from the role,” the statement reads.

“Mr. Craw will be replaced by New Zealand’s Brian Gibbons, who has acted as FIA Deputy President for Mobility since 2009. That role will now be now be filled by Belgium’s Thierry Willemarck, who moves from his position as President of Region I of the FIA.

“Graham Stoker continues as Deputy President for Sport, a post he has held since 2009.”

“I have encouraged the selection of a leadership team that is a mixture of the experienced and the new. The experienced will ensure we continue to respect our heritage, uphold our values and avoid the pitfalls of the past,” Todt said.

“The new faces will bring fresh, innovative thinking to our Federation. I am particularly pleased that a number of talented women have been nominated for important positions by our clubs.

“It is a beginning I hope will lead the FIA to embrace greater diversity and recognize and reward talent, wherever it exists.”

Oliver Askew: ‘I was starting to lose confidence’ after ‘hardest hit I’ve had’

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Oliver Askew knew something was medically wrong in the days after concussion-like symptoms began from “the hardest hit I’ve ever had” in the Indianapolis 500. He’d been evaluated and cleared to race after the Aug. 23 crash, but he just didn’t feel right.

The IndyCar rookie told The Associated Press on Thursday he has been experiencing dizziness, sleeping difficulties, irritability, headaches and confusion since he crashed in the Aug. 23 race. He continued to race in four more events as he tried to “play through it” until friends and family encouraged him to seek medical treatment.

He since has been diagnosed with a concussion and is working on a recovery plan with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s sports medicine concussion program, the same place NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. received care after concussions in 2012 and ’16. Askew will not compete in next weekend’s doubleheader on the road course at Indianapolis, and Arrow McLaren SP will put three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Chevrolet.

“This is all I’ve worked for,” the 23-year-old told AP. “I don’t come from money, and I’ve worked my way up and have finally gotten my shot in a good car. And then all of a sudden, the results just weren’t there in a car I knew should be performing. And I just didn’t feel like myself, you know?

“So initially I felt like I needed to stay in the car and continue to improve. And then I didn’t feel like I could do that with my condition and what was going on. I was starting to lose confidence in myself.”

Earnhardt praised Askew for going to Pittsburgh to see Dr. Micky Collins.

“Oliver is in the best hands when it comes to taking care of this problem and getting back on the racetrack. It was very smart of him to get in front of Micky so that he could understand the seriousness of the situation and begin the process of getting well,” Earnhardt said. “You can absolutely heal from this but not without taking the step of getting help. Often that’s the most difficult step.”

Athletes often hide injuries to continue competing, and even Earnhardt admittedly masked concussions during his driving career. Askew didn’t know what was wrong with him but was frightened to get out of the car.

He is a paid driver who brings no sponsorship money to the team (but did bring a $1 million scholarship for winning last year’s Indy Lights championship), and owner Sam Schmidt holds the option on his contract.

As he tried to race on, his performance suffered. Askew had finished third and sixth at Iowa — the previous two races before Indianapolis. After the crash, he was part of a multicar accident the next week at Gateway and has not finished higher than 14th in the four races since Indy.

A year after winning seven Indy Lights races, Askew has fallen from 12th to 18th in the standings and slipped considerably off the pace. He said he struggled in team debriefs, had difficulty giving feedback and has gone through a personality change that was noticeable to those close to Askew.

Spire Sports + Entertainment, which represents Askew and was among those who pushed the driver to see a doctor, noted Arrow McLaren SP did not reveal that Askew was suffering from a concussion in its Thursday announcement he would miss next week’s race.

“Oliver clearly demonstrated his talent until Lap 91 of the Indianapolis 500, and I hope this does not become another case study of why athletes do not tell their teams they are injured,” said agent Jeff Dickerson. “The reason they do that is because more often times than not they are replaced. In motorsports, there is always somebody to replace you, and whether it was Dale Jr. or Oliver Askew, there is always another driver available.

“I hope this is not a barrier to progress for other drivers — especially young drivers afraid of losing their job — to notify their teams they are hurt. I hope the team proves me wrong because the good news is, the kid has had a head injury for the past month and has still run 14th in IndyCar.”

After finally seeking medical treatment, Askew said he was relieved to learn there was something wrong. He said doctors told him the injury has a “100% recovery rate” and he believes he will be able to race in the IndyCar season finale next month at St. Petersburg. He’s been rehabilitating with exercises and tasks that strain the brain such as deliberately going to grocery stores and the airport.

“Honestly, you know, if I had not gone to see medical professionals I would probably stay in the car,” Askew said. “But now after hearing what’s wrong and that it could get worse, God forbid I have another hit, I know I did the right thing. I think I can be an example for young drivers now in stepping up and saying something is wrong, I need to have this checked out.”