Saturday, July 11, 2009

Vatanen to run for FIA presidency

Friday 10th July 2009

Ari Vatanen has confirmed he is to run for the presidency of the FIA, believing "the time has come for a change".

The 1981 World Rally champion, and four-time winner of the Paris-Dakar Rally, has spent the last 10 years working as a member of the European Parliament.

Vatanen's background stands him in good stead as a strong candidate bearing in mind his particular fields of interest as an MEP were road and traffic safety, transportation logistics and mobility.

"Responding to requests from many FIA member clubs, I shall stand for presidential elections of the FIA in October this year," said the 57-year-old Finn who currently lives in France.

"The time has come for a change. My main focus is to reconcile views within the FIA and bring transparency to its stakeholders.

"The duty of president is to defend the billion automobile users and the great sport of ours."

It remains to be seen whether current FIA president Max Mosley, who has spent the last 16 years in charge, will stand against Vatanen in light of the FIA-FOTA war that continues to rage.

After a peace pact was agreed between Mosley, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo just over two weeks ago in Paris, the 69-year-old announced he would not run for a potential fifth term in office.

However, stung by comments from Di Montezemolo in the immediate aftermath, Mosley then stated he would be keeping his options open.

With F1's future again in the balance, it has become clear over the past two days in the build-up to Sunday's German Grand Prix, FOTA are digging in their heels.

The suggestion is they will not sign a new Concorde Agreement - the confidential document that governs the commercial side of the sport - unless Mosley issues cast-iron guarantees he will step down.

Should Mosley fight on, Vatanen would undoubtedly face a tough task to be elected given the political clout the Briton still exerts.

Source : Planet F1

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