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?
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?