Todt’s team accused of vote-buying

A member of Jean Todt's team allegedly offered ??2,280 for a vote

A supporter of Jean Todt has been accused of trying to buy a vote for the FIA president candidate.

Surinder Thatthi, one of Todt’s seven nominees for sport vice president, is alleged to have offered to arrange payment for the FIA subscription fee for the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs in Uganda, but only if the club agreed to vote for Todt.

An article in today’s Mail on Sunday claims:

Thatthi told [president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs in Uganda Jack Wavamunno] a sponsor had been found to pay the ??2,820 outstanding from the FMU?s subscription to the FIA.

Wavamunno said: “Surinder Thatthi said it would not be in the interests of me, or the FMU, if I stood against him for the WMSC and the FMU did not vote for Jean Todt. I felt it was a veiled threat. In the second call, he said he was aware there was money outstanding from the FMU?s subscription to the FIA and he had a sponsor who could pay that, but only on the condition that I withdrew my candidacy and we gave our vote to his candidate, Todt.”

Thatthi, who represents the Automobile Association of Tanzania, was one of the three stewards who controversially stripped Lewis Hamilton of his Belgian Grand Prix win last year.

Thatthi also famously criticised world rally champion Sebastien Loeb for bringing the FIA into disrepute by having a beard.

These allegations follow earlier claims that FIA officials have been lobbying for Todt in violation of FIA rules.

Todt’s opponent Ari Vatanen has already appealed to the French courts asking for assistance in ensuring the elections are carried out fairly.

Read more: The bitterly-fought FIA presidential election is too important to ignore

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28 comments on Todt’s team accused of vote-buying

  1. “oooh, we didn’t know anything about that and he is now removed from our campaign blah blah blah blah” – what Todt’s group will say. Further evidence that Todt is not the man who should be in charge, unless the clubs want more of the same from the FiA. One who stripped HAM of the Spa win last year, eh? Todt supporter, eh? Anyone else see a connection here?

    • Steph90 said on 18th October 2009, 11:26

      This election is becoming more and more dubious. Even if Todt wins, there may just be enough upset to cause him serious problems at this rate.
      The Spa example will just provoke the same old argument of whether the penalty was right or wrong.

  2. Dingle Dell said on 18th October 2009, 11:28

    Jean Todt… the Yoda-ish look from the appearance from far, up-close in this posts’ photo he looked like Darth Sidious, who was the Chancellor Palpatine.

    We seriously need fair votes instead of such buyouts.

    Ari Vatanen all the way for a proper evolution and the Answer to the voices from the fans of F1!

    Peace.

  3. S Hughes said on 18th October 2009, 11:29

    I instantly remembered that man’s name – it is etched on my memory forever. He is the Ferrari lackey who cheated for Ferrari in Spa last year. He is in Ferrari’s pocket so basically if Todt is FIA president, you can guarantee that it will be even more biased towards Ferrari. I really cannot understand how an ex-team principle of one of the top F1 teams can even be considered for FIA president. The fans definitely don’t want it – I’ve seen polls on here and on Planet-F1, and the vote goes overwhelmingly for Ari Vatenan (sic). If Todt wins, then we might as well still have Mosley in charge.

    This is one of the worst things about F1 – the perceived and also very real pro-Ferrari bias and not playing on a level playing field.

    This was a real opportunity to get rid of all that bias and politicking – looks like we’ll still be stuck with it.

    They obviously care nothing for the wishes of the fans.

    • Steph90 said on 18th October 2009, 12:05

      Ferrari has had little to do with the elections and have kept quiet. They seem more aligned to FOTA these days, Todt wasn’t even at Ferrari last year. There may be arguments of bias but also some say the penalty is still fair and done with. We should focus on elections now where there seems to be evidence that it is not free or fair instead of the same old argument.

  4. Bartholomew said on 18th October 2009, 11:57

    LOL Todt ” Newman” caught with his hand in the sack of money!
    This is the bad company he keeps.
    I understand that he has designated Nelson Piquet Sr. as his deputy vice – president. Those two do not need to put a costume on in Halloween, in order to frighten people

    GO ARI !!!!

  5. Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th October 2009, 11:58

    When a man accuses you of being evil because you have a beard, you know his grip on reality has fragmented.

  6. Salty said on 18th October 2009, 11:59

    I too remembered Mr Surinder Thatthi from last year’s Spa debarcle. Would love to say I am shocked by this allegation, but guess we all expect this to be going on from the Todt contingency. They will refute this claim vehemently of course, probably smearing Jack Wavamunno in the process.

    The chances of this passing off as a fair election were always going to be zero, given the power and money behind the main players running the FIA.

  7. Scribe said on 18th October 2009, 12:04

    Why do i feel the shadow of the breakaway threat returning. If the FIA coninues on its outrageously unfair path the teams will have no qualms in breaking away enmass in 2012.
    No one will be able to sue em’. They’ll get all the cash from the telly and the venues and they’ll be able to set up a decent list of regulations.

    • There’s probably some loophole in the contracts that could get them out even before then – at least, I hope so.

  8. if he accuses of somebody having a beard why doesnt he fine redbull for having alot of people with beards?

  9. This is ridiculous. I thought vote-buying only ever happened in governmental elections. If this allegation is true, then some people are taking the outcome too seriously for their own good (or, given the likely consequences, anyone else’s).

    The vote-rigging allegation needs to be properly investigated by a responsible, fully independent organisation. It’s also worth noting that nothing in the election procedures document the FIA posted yesterday prevents this form of election-rigging, which means Max will have to try harder to convince us this election is fair.

  10. Rohan said on 18th October 2009, 14:28

    I don’t believe these allegations for a second, particularly because of the “news”paper that is reporting them. This is the same ‘paper that employs proven racists and xenophobes, which renders anything it claims as meaningless.

    • S Hughes said on 18th October 2009, 15:02

      I agree with you about the Daily Heil, despicable paper, but occasionally, amazingly, sometimes something accurate is mentioned on it. Weirder things have occured.

  11. JHunt said on 18th October 2009, 14:40

    One point that is not very clearly explained here is that Mr Wavamunno is competing against Mr Thatthi for a spot on the WMSC, therefore I would keep my reservations on the accusations that he is making as he has vested interest in defaming the other candidate. I would also not put any weight on ‘evidence’ as reported and ‘seen’ by a tabloid. Blackmail is a criminal offence. Therefore it is curious why Mr Wavamunno chose not to inform the police but rather give it to a tabloid reporter, if indeed he has been threatened. On the other hand, maybe its not surprising, because he has other motivations doesn’t he? (I am not taking one side vs the other, just cautioning against making judgments based on tabloid facts, and that there may be many more permutations of what went on here than reported… )

  12. mp4-19b said on 18th October 2009, 14:52

    Can I vote? I don’t mind voting for Todt. I’m in urgent need of cash & €2,280 is more than enough for my new M14 Spring Gun Sniper Rifle.

    • JHunt said on 18th October 2009, 16:23

      its better if u know how to crash a car, thats worth $1mm++, u can buy a whole brigade =)

      • I’m in need of cash too. I have a photocopier & am not afraid to use it !

        In respect to the vote buying allegations, all I can say is quelle suprise. Even without such lengths allegedly gone to, this election was never going to be fair, honest and transperant.

  13. Gusto said on 18th October 2009, 14:55

    The election hasn`t even happened yet and the corruption and immorality of the Max era has already started, if Todt gets in will the sponsers hang around knowing that it`s all `fixed tricks`?. Was Surinder the one who had never been to a F1 race before?. Also does anyone now of any sites that support Todt like most/all sites are supporting Ari as I`am trying to understand how Todt can be good for F1.

  14. John H said on 18th October 2009, 16:23

    This makes me sick.

    Ari, you have absolutely no chance of winning but you have the F1 fans behind you anyway.

    Arrgghhh this makes me so angry!

  15. theRoswellite said on 18th October 2009, 16:36

    It would be interesting to know if there is any real hope that those voting for a new FIA president can do so in an unbiased and “unrewarded” manner, or if it is simply a raw political event, with all the ensuing infighting.
    (Why is everyone laughing?)

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