Friday, July 17, 2009

Vatanen: Choosing Todt keeps the Mosley era alive

Thursday 16th July 2009

Despite insisting he will not start a campaign of "mudslinging" and "dirt-throwing", Ari Vatanen says choosing Jean Todt for the FIA presidency will not herald the changes required.

Former World Rally Champ Vatanen announced prior to the German GP that he would be running for the presidency of motorsport's governing body in the October elections while outgoing president Max Mosley has long made it know that he wants Jean Todt to be his successor.

Earlier this week, the 69-year-old backed Todt in a letter sent to all FIA member clubs. "I believe the right person to head that team would be Jean Todt," Mosley wrote.

"Jean is unquestionably the outstanding motorsport manager of his generation, and arguably of any generation.

"If he agrees to stand, I think he would be the ideal person to continue, but also to extend the work of the past 16 years.

"He can be relied on in all areas where the FIA is active. I very much hope you will give him your support."

The former Ferrari team boss, though, has yet to confirm whether he will stand for election, although his rival for the job, Vatanen, believes it would be a mistake choosing Todt due to his close friendship with Mosley.

"They are very close friends and worked very closely together when Jean was at Ferrari and Max at the FIA. But that can also turn out to be a handicap," the 57-year-old Finn told the Associated Press.

"You need a new star, you need an independent person who represents change.

"The fact that he has FIA support may somewhat distort the situation, but I'm not worried. When the wind starts changing, it does change.

"I'm not dethroning Jean - there's an opening. If I can resume my campaign in one way, something that Jean successfully applied to various disciplines and teams: If you want to win, take a Finn."

But despite making it clear that he doesn't feel Todt is the man for the job, Vatanen insists he won't resort to mudslinging during his campaign.

"During the entire campaign I wanted to be constructive, no mudslinging, no dirt-throwing. We have to look now forward. What a poor picture we have given of ourselves to the rest of the world. FIA simply needs to recuperate its dignity and integrity. We need a new start."

As for the outgoing president, Mosley, the Finn reckons he has overstayed his welcome after 16 years in the job.

"We are all very vulnerable to that trap that you think the world revolves around yourself. Any leader in the world, when you are very much long in power you overestimate your own possibilities and anyone who criticises you is seen as a threat," he said.

Source : Planet F1

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