Jean Todt vs Ari Vatanen (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Todt handed over the reigns at Ferrari to Domenicali before pursuing the FIA job
Todt handed over the reigns at Ferrari to Domenicali before pursuing the FIA job

After beating Jean-Marie Balestre in 1991, Max Mosley never had to face an opponent in an FIA election.

But his successor will: this October Mosley’s preferred choice Jean Todt will stand against ‘independent candidate’ Ari Vatanen. But which is the right man for the job?

Who do you want to be FIA president?

  • Ari Vatanen (77%)
  • Jean Todt (14%)
  • No opinion (5%)
  • Neither (4%)

Total Voters: 2,525

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As I suspect will be the case for a lot of fans, Vatanen is the one I pick instictively because he’s not backed by Max Mosley.

I don’t know how Todt can keep a straight face when he talks about “the outstanding work of President Mosley, who for 16 years has worked tirelessly to strengthen the FIA’s major motorsport championships,” when all three major series – F1, the World Rally Championship and World Touring Car Championship – are beset by long-standing rows over their future technical rules which Mosley has singularly failed to resolve.

Anyone who looks at Mosley’s track record – particularly over the last four years – and concludes that what F1 needs is more of the same, is the last person who should be in charge of the sport.

I knew relatively little about Vatanen before I wrote an article about him last week for this site, and on the whole I liked what I found. Pragmatim and practicalities first, politics second – that sums up Vatanen’s style for me and it’s exactly what the FIA needs.

But make no mistake – the odds are against Vatanen. Todt can count on the support of the same allies of Mosley who last year felt even the ‘spankgate’ episode was not a good enough reason to depose him. He has revealed little about his campaign so far, and with the elections just three months away, he needs to make rapid progress. Todt has in all likelihood been groomed for this position by Mosley for several years. Vatanen told this site he first considered the position several years ago, but would he have done so had he not lost his EU Parliament seat?

Who are you hoping will win the election? Would you rather see a different candidate stand?

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86 comments on “Jean Todt vs Ari Vatanen (Poll)”

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  1. I voted for Vatanen, just because i like his Pikes Peak footage :)

    1. The fact that he’s given an interview to Mr.keith collantine is reason enough for me to vote for him. i also think that he follows f1fanatic regularly, which is good for him. i’ll really be relived if he’s elected.

      1. if he follows f1fanatic then you’ll have a big influence on FIA, because you post a response to EVERY response in EVERY thread…

    2. LOL. That’s exactly what I tihnk to. What footage, what a car, what a climb!

    3. LOL. That’s exactly what I think too. What footage, what a car, what a climb!

  2. I remember meeting Vatanen at scrutineering for the RAC Rally in Harrogate years ago. He took time to come over and sign my programme which has being held by my wife. When we looked to see what he had done there was his signature and a little heart. Not sure if he always does that or it was for my wife!

    1. at least Vatanen is pure at “HEART”, unlike dirty Max, who thinks women are objects of pleasure.

  3. Ivoted for Vatanen, because he’s not conected to any team in F1, especially not the big ones. He got my vote on the account of Mosley supporting Todt as the best choice and because Ari is the only other option to Todt, who i think, would run FIA in a dirty fashion, like he ran Ferrari, not to mention, he seems like a person who would accept bribes…Todt GO HOME!!!!

    1. i go along with your sentiment. Todt is a corrupt man. he gobbled up 100 million mclaren dollars. dunno what he did with that money. maybe he’s bribed max & the others using that same money? is that a possibility ?

      1. Bartholomew
        22nd July 2009, 1:55

        That money went to Max, Bernie, Lou and Flav. The rest will be used to bribe different FIA delegations from far away countries, so they vote for Todt Newman.
        This will be a North Korean – Zimbabwean style of elections, rigged as in a Third World country

    2. You really hit the nail on the head there. The most crucial quality we need in an FIA president is impartiality. Whether or not you agree with Todt’s proffesional ethics, or how he ran his team(s), the fact that he was previously at the head of the most dominant team of the last decade should disqualify him unequivocally.

  4. Its strange that when Todt left Ferrari, we all had him marked as the next FIA President, even though there were no indications from him or anyone else that he was even interested.
    It would be interesting to know if he still has Ferrari backing, or if they have distanced themselves from him, or he from them. The last time he was shown in the F1 Paddock, he was wearing distinctly non-Ferrari clothes…
    Ari does have a big struggle, I think. I wonder, if he loses the election, will he become part of the FOTA-led opposition, or would he go away again? Somebody needs to ask him if he is here for the long-term, or just opposing Max.
    At least I have my wish and the next FIA President will be somebody with a true racing background. We will have to keep an eye on Max, though, as I can see him partnering Bernie and controlling FOM…..

    1. i attribute the success of modern day ferrari to jean todt. He is the architect of this modern day team.they were no where after the death of enzo in 1988. He quickly transformed a struggling team into a winning one. although some of the dubious, dirty, cheap tactics might never been forgotten, the man must get some credit for transforming the team. i point i’m trying to make:

      1) How can a team, which owes its success in recent time not be supportive of the man who guided them to success?
      2) how can a man, who got a platform, in the form of ferrari to demonstrate his managerial skill( i know they were cheap & dirty) no be supportive of his former team?

      jean todt is a name everyone associates with 3 things

      1) FERRARI
      3) CHEATING

      i’m not sure if people would associate his name with metaphors such as

      1) HONESTY

      hence imho todt must not be allowed to contest the election, if he does contest i’m damn sure he’ll win, cuz he’s got the backing of the red italian mafia & nazi backed mosley.

      1. My goodness you hate Ferrari!

        1. Sush Meerkat
          21st July 2009, 18:38

          with a name like MP4-19b. Of course he does.

      2. Quite well said on that one!

      3. Fantastic comment. Thanks!

  5. I would vote for Vatanen based on ‘Climb Dance’ alone!

    Everything he has said since has further cemented in my mind that he’s the man for the job – he has his head screwed on and will get Motorsport back to the way it should be :)

  6. I don’t really think that Max Moseley should have resigned due to Spank-Gate scandal. It is his personal life. Bill Clinton was president inspite of his extra marital affair, after all.

    Max Moseley should have been impeached for being unable to do all his duties well enough as an FIA president.

    However, I voted for Jean Todt as he is a Ferrari man, and I am a die-hard fan of them :) Selfish choice, but so be it.

    1. The problem wasn’t so much that he Mosley sex, but that he apparently had Nazi fantasies.

      Much like Ecclestone is now in trouble for praising Hitler and then a day later blaming the jews for the credit crisis.

    2. by doing so, you are directly admitting to the fact that your “favorite” team ferrari needs outside assistance to win races & championships!! thats what you want, don’t you? people working behind the scenes to pull them out off the hole. fact is ferrari cannot win without outside assistance & this fact has been substantiated by a “die-hard” ferrari fan himself!!

      1. As a die-hard fan I want Ferrari to win every championship, and whoever and whatever helps them do that, is more than welcome.

        Yes, Ferrari has got assistance from FIA, probably more than any other team. But that doesn’t undermine any of the championships they have won. It takes a different kind of skill to repeatedly gain such unfair advantage. And Ferrari have repeatedly been better negotiators with FIA than any other team. If other teams can’t do that, its not Ferrari’s fault that they get outside advantage all the time.

        Its not a perfect sport, no sport is. You have got to do everything that takes to win. Ferrari do that. Thats why I like them.
        Besides, Ferrari doesn’t steal documents.

        1. muhahaha!!! you are a funny guy. you frankly admit to the fact that ferrari get outside assistance & yet you say this doesn’t “UNDERMINE” any of the championships they’ve won. now thats what i call a perfect contradictory statement. At least McLaren doesn’t “sell” classified documents!! i think you’ve forgotten an important character by the name Nigel remember him? he’s your man after all!! He was the one who sold your team’s documents to Mike Coughlan. tell me who’s more guilty? but anyway there’s no proof that mclaren have used any of that “USELESS” ferrari data on their car. Their car, the mp4-22 was conceptually a different car to the F2007. it is just that jean & max couldn’t withstand mclaren getting back to their winning ways, that they resorted to this cheap drama aka spygate, so that they could cakewalk to another championship. retired with a bang didn’t he?? that loser boss of yours.

          1. My logic might sound wierd and contradictory, but it is not baseless.

            I am a die-hard Ferrari fan, but not a foolish one. I would be an idiot to say that Hamilton deserved a penalty at Spa, or the ban on mass dampers or Alonso’s penalty at Monza 2006 were justified.

            Now comes the question: Why it doesn’t “undermine” any of the championship. Reason: To some extent, FIA helps Ferrari because Ferrari helps FIA in return. You want hints? Who supported Max after the Spankgate? Which team was the first to come out in support of FIA in 2003 when rumours of a split series emerged? Which team stood by FIA during the 2005 US GP fiasco when the entire world rebuked the FIA inspite of it being Michelin’s mistake?

            Its a simple give-n-take. That is how you get into the teacher’s good books.

            You might find my logic laughable, but trust me, it allows me to whole-heartedly support my not-so-perfect-yet-favorite team without any second thoughts or guilt :)

            About the Stepney-gate, you as a Mclaren fan and me as a Ferrari fan will never reach any consensus. Still, I ask you: as a die-hard yet practical Mclaren fan – Do you really believe that Mclaren got the 700 page report and still never opened a page of it ?

        2. @ sumedh

          I read your comment 3 times and I still can’t believe it.

          1. @ sumedh

            sumedh, i’m sorry! you’ve just contradicted yourself once again. A contradictory statement is always baseless. you’ve got to know that. you seem to be a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. What Max Mosley did in 2007 was absolutely disgusting & has greatly scarred the sport. No one with moral values would have supported him. but since we are speaking about ferrari, we all know how moral they are. If you want to support max, its your choice, but i guess people will start looking at you in a different perspective once you start supporting him. people such as max don’t have space in civilized society. you are right in saying both FIA & Ferrari help each other, its called symbiosis(mutual dependence). One cannot exist without the other. so again you are admitting to the fact , that too directly!! that ferrari couldn’t have won all those championships without the help of max & FIA. its simple “Give & take” policy isn’t it? & you, sumedh would call it sporting behaviour, i’m sure you would cuz you always want ferrari to win, even if it means they don’t achive it in a fair way. but i along with many other wouldn’t call it a sport if such a thing were ever to happen. and finally you’ve made some references to a teacher, which makes me believe you are a student. if you are a student i’ll ask you a simple question here. supposing you were given a leaked question paper just say 10 minutes prior to your examination, would it help you in any way? it certainly wouldn’t help me or many others in anyway. like wise that 700 page useless “DOSSIER” that you mention would have in no way helped mclaren in any way whosoever. you’ve gotta realize it isn’t an university examination, where you can copy cat & score centum, its engineering, different team have different ways of engineering their cars. it is not like your university examination. hope you don’t contradict yourself again.

  7. AS much as i like Vatannen, i’m worried that he might be presumed a slave of Fota, by Fota and expected to do everything they ask for. where in fact he wont be anyone’s B*** and then we get into the same crap all over again…

    1. better to have a FOTA “slave” than a FIA “dictator”.

      1. No – that’s way, and I mean, WAAAAAAY, worse, as a FOTA slave is much more threatening to the future of my and our favourite sport than a so-called “dictator” could ever be.

        1. No, we’ve seen a dictator come incredibly close to destroying the support just last month, so a FOTA slave would be much better. Although as a politician anyway, I doubt he would allow himself to become a slave.

  8. No prizes for guessing who will win this poll.

    Although I do have a few reservations similar to Ronman, surely Todt is less of an independent candidate, and that’s what the sport needs more than anything.

    Go Ari!

  9. WidowFactory
    21st July 2009, 9:06

    Ron Dennis!

    1. ron dennis is a man of honour, unlike jean todt, he doesn’t resort to dubious ways to succeed.

      1. Sorry mp4-19b, I disagree!
        Big Ron can’t even manage his own team properly (remember 2007? Its McLaren who screwed up their chance to win, not FIA or the Red team), How will he manage FIA?

      2. ohhh yesss ;) really HONEST (SPY-GATE and Lie-Gate and all othe gates ANYONE?!!!:P:P:P)LLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLL

        1. I think approaching the FIA as soon as he discovered cheating was happening was the most honest thing he could have possibly done in the situation. And he wasn’t involved in lie-gate. He only stepped down after that the FIA hate him and it would strengthen McLaren’s position.

        2. ‘after that because the FIA hated him so much’

          1. I think approaching the FIA as soon as he discovered cheating was happening was the most honest thing he could have possibly done in the situation.

            It’s really amazing how things (and facts) can be interpreted…

          2. well it was either go to the FIA or not and try to keep it hidden, and he went to the FIA.

          3. What I was trying to say anyway is that the actions of a few select members of the team does not necessarily mean that Dennis himself is not honest. He seems like a shrewd man, so I doubt he’d be stupid enough to have knowingly, purposefully used Ferrari information in case it came back to damage the team.

  10. I voted for todt he know’s how these guy’s work and he does get thing’s done unlike max.The link with ferrari could be a problem but would he be stupid enough to favour them over the rest. FOTA won’t tolerate that so I can’t see him trying anything stupid.

    1. remember, anyone endorsed by mad max has to be mad. bad company spoils even good people. max & todt have been very close to each other since the latter’s retirement from ferrari. So we dont know yet as to how much jean’s been influenced by mosley. mosley is like a pandemic.

      1. He’s worse than swine flu and takes a lot longer to clear off.

  11. Was Vatanen asked by FOTA to run for president?


    2. Bartholomew
      22nd July 2009, 19:02

      I dont think so. FOTA = FIA = CVC money

  12. Imagine Mad Max had not endorsed Todt. Now vote.

    1. i suspect if todt name would have ever come up without max’s suggestion. in any case i still wouldn’t favour him. his ties with ferrari are too deep & too strong for him to be able to provide transparent governance.

    2. People were against Todt as FIA president from the moment he started getting ready for the job.

  13. 2 words – team orders…

    1. we all know that honest people never get elected in elections. i’m damn sure that todt will be the next prez. he has the backing of some of the most powerful names in the sport. he gave up his position at ferrari as he had one eye on the top post. i think a deal was struck between max & todt in 2007, the only possible obstacle in their way would be ron dennis & we all know what they did to him. so the coast is clear. welcome to the new
      “Français Dictator” who will make sure the sport is finnished off!

      1. Bartholomew
        21st July 2009, 13:43

        I´m afraid Todt “Newman” has the crucial backing of CVC, and this might be a Zimbabwe – style rigged election

  14. Can people please remember that the FiA isn’t just about F1, it also has other single seater, rallying and touring car series’ to look after as well as the non-motorsport activites.

    I still think Vatanen would be the better option for no other reason than I just plain don’t like John Toad and Mad Max backing him as well really doesn’t help.

    I suspect though that Mr Todt will win the election, though I think he’ll go out of his way to make sure he isn’t seen to favour Ferrari (or Fiat).

  15. Bartholomew
    21st July 2009, 11:17

    Review of FIA president candidates

    1 – TODT “NEWMAN” : Lou´s submarine in the FIA. Not good looking enough to be the visible face of F1.
    Veredict : no good

    2 – FLAVOR FLAV : eats too much macaroni with meatballs. This is not in keeping with the tradition of slim men at the top of motorsport leadership :
    Bernie : slim man with signature fashion look of black pants and white shirt, long hair.
    Mosley : trim man with good taste in neckties, suits and shoes ( have seen a photo of him wearing some outstanding shoes that looked like either Crockett and Jones or Edward Green. Remarcable )
    Veredict : no good

    3 – ARI VATANEN. In keeping with motorsport leadership tradition of fit men, he cuts a good figure against a white wall. An upright man with a good record. Not corrupted by the envelope full of money from CVC, like all the people mentioned previously.
    Veredict : good.

    DECISION : Ari Vatanen for President of FIA.

    FINAL COMMENT : Ron Dennis did well in retiring from this scenario of socio – political corruption. Now he lives in peace, applying his class and talent to beautiful road cars.

    1. absolutely agree with you on your FINAL COMMENT. men of honour & dignity never enter corrupt politics. hope he’s able to come out with cheaper cars. that mclaren f1 cost me a fortune.

  16. I voted for Ari. His approach and personality would be a welcome change for the FIA, the sports and the fans who are fed up with politics.

    If not Ari, I’d want the straight talking Paul Stoddart at the helm of the FIA, now wouldn’t that be something :-D.

    1. i’m sure he’ll not support Torro Rosso, unlike jean tadpole.

  17. I voted for Ari, but he might tell you that this poll is missing someone: Michel Boeri.

    Vatanen also revealed yesterday that he expected Monaco’s Michel Boeri, currently president of the FIA senate, to stand for election.

  18. It’s funny that in a similar poll at a German motorsports news site, Jean Todt beat Ari Vatanen (43% to 39%) while over here the votes are clearly in the Finn’s favour. The reason for this has to be the association of Todt with the successful Schumacher-Ferrari days because the majority of the German fans also wants Max Mosley’s reign to end.

    For those who can read it, here’s the outcome of that poll:

    1. Or they are simply less educated. The people here get a lot of detailed info from Keith. Including the interview he did with Vatanen. I doubt many of the German voters even know what Vatanen stands for and if so then they would simply vote for the best known option.

  19. As said earlier, FIA isn’t just F1. Vatanen comes from a rallying background so he would be useful in sorting out the mess that the WRC is in at the moment. The WTCC could definitely do with a helping hand as well. F1 is in dire need of someone to take control and provide answers and support that is beneficial to both the teams and Formula One itself. I feel with Vatanen’s no-nonesense, get things done, attitude towards things, he could be excellent!

    Jean Todt would be a major no no in my eyes. He wasn’t always the most transparent figure when he ran Ferrari and when you are the president of the FIA, transparency is absolutely essential for the way forward these days. Also, the whole connection with Ferrari would put a lot of people off. The ‘favouritism’ conspiracy theorists would have a field day if he were elected and I dont feel even us normal fans would ever have a true sense that there was no bias in the FIA.

    Just my thoughts anyways :)

  20. I voted for Vatanen but I would like to see some more candidates but I think the fact they have to have their cabinet in place stops they being a lot of candidates.

    I don’t like Mosley so the propsect of more of the same is the last thing I want. However even if Todt was independent of Mosley his history with Ferrari would rule him out of the job for me, it would be the same if Ron Dennis was a candidate.

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