Bentley Mulsanne Visionaries – the Future of the Automobile with FIA President Jean Todt


Jean Todt: I’ve had a fantastic life, if I may say. I’m a lover of cars, of racing. I started as a co-driver, then I became the head of a very successful rally team, cross-country team, Formula 1 and CEO of a luxury brand. [pause] My passion for cars is quite simple. My father was a doctor and for him a car was a working tool to go from one passion to another one or to move. I was his special adviser and I made him buy a Mini Cooper Triumph TR4. I wish I could have convinced him to buy a Bentley but it was not possible. For a luxury brand it is important to have a vision for the future and for me the vision for the future is downsized engine capacity, energy recovery and turbo-charger with direct injection. In a way it’s what we have been defining as a new engine for Formula 1. I feel it’s very good to have this kind of synergy between racing and the road car. Traffic in big cities is a real problem. It’s very difficult to foresee how to improve the situation. For me I see a good future for the electric car but it will happen in cities exclusively. [pause] As president of the FIA, safety in racing is essential and we have been making so much progress over the last decade. I am very keen to see this transfer on the road because you cannot accept having 1.3 million people who die on the roads every year; to have 50 million people who are injured. That is a great challenge. [pause] It’s fantastic to be able to have the privilege to drive a luxury car with a lot of technology. Every time I go in such a category of car I’m fascinated. [pause] I’ve been privileged to visit the Bentley factory several times. One time I went together with Michael Schumacher and we can see that it’s still handicraft work of the inside, the choice of the colour, the choice of the materials and on the other side the technology is quite remarkable. I like the car because each single detail is just perfect and suits me quite well. [pause] The automobile industry has followed new generations of mobile phone — iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, computer. We are living through an amazing period. We must not forget that automotive is quite recent — just over a century — and when you see how a car was 100 years ago and how a car is now I think the question is what will the car be like in 100 years. It’s already hard to say what will be a car in 10 or 15 years. I’m sure that in the near future you’ll be able to programme your car as you do a plane. You’ll be able to put into your GPS the final address of where you want to go and the car will drive you there. For me, a car is a kind of a piece of art and if you don’t use it you can have it on display and when you think about it you can think about it, it is like a painting or a sculpture and that’s very special. Mulsanne Visionaries www.bentleymulsannevisionaries.com #mulsannevisionaries