The FIA goes to the polls

There were high hopes for Mosley following his election in 1991

There were high hopes for Mosley following his election in 1991

After months of build-up the FIA presidential elections finally take place today.

But will the winner be Max Mosley’s choice Jean Todt, or the fans’ favourite Ari Vatanen?

Just as important a question is whether the elections will be free of outside interference. There have been allegations that some clubs have been coerced into siding with Todt.

Vatanen threatened to take court action to ensure the vote was carried out fairly but he withdrew the suit after the FIA made various concessions. One of which was the right for voters to cast their ballots in secret. That they have only made this concession at such a late stage indicates how open to abuse the system has been.

The last time the FIA presidency changed hands, in 1991, the arrival of Max Mosley was greeted warmly by many who hoped for and end to the controversies and scandal previous president Jean-Marie Balestre had often been at the heart of.

After 18 years of Mosley, we find ourselves wishing for the same thing again.

Who do you think will win? And will the elections be free and fair? Have your say below.

I’ve had an email from Eurosport saying they’ll broadcast an interview with the new FIA president at 10.30pm on Friday evening on British Eurosport/Eurosport HD.

F1 Presidential elections 2010

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88 comments on The FIA goes to the polls

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  1. Ned Flanders said on 23rd October 2009, 0:53

    I’ve never liked Jean Todt as a team manger, and I see no reason why I’d like him in control of F1. But the main reason why I’m desperate to see him lose is because he’ll be little more than Sir Spankalots puppet.

    I don’t really know any of Ari Vatanen’s main policies, but what I do know is that he hates Max Mosley as much as the rest of us, and that is reason enough for me to support him.

    So… GO ARI VATANEN!!!

    • steph90 said on 23rd October 2009, 10:00

      Agree 100% with that Ned. It’s a shame that Vatenen’c policies do seem quite vague and maybe we are being a bit judgemental of Todt, but the idea of keeping a dictatorship in F1 is repulsive so the majority of fans’ reactions are not a surprise.

  2. I have to say, over the course of the campaign, Jean Todt has been far more positive than Ari Vatanen.

    I don’t dislike Vatanen, and I’m sure he could do a good job, but Jean Todt seems to have a broad perspective, seems to have a much better perspective outside of motorsport and does just seem the better candidate.

    I understand the whole “we want something different” attitude, but different doesn’t necessarily take you down the right path, and I’m quite concerned that under Vatanen, the FIA might go down the wrong path in the name of being “different”.

    • Maciek said on 23rd October 2009, 8:41

      If I may ask, what are you basing this on? What is the potentially wrong path that you feel Vatanen represents? What does Todt’s “better perspective outside of motorsports” consist in?

  3. Harv's said on 23rd October 2009, 1:15

    i dont think todt should be the president. i dont think anyone who has run a serious F1 team should ever run the F.I.A. I know that it would be very professional, and they would be there to support and structure the the F.I.A. and F1, but I cant see Todt handing down a major punishment to Ferrari if they do something really wrong.

    For that reason I think that Ari Vatanen should be President, that reason alone.

    As a McLaren fan I would not like to see R.Dennis in that job for the same reason. so the same would apply for Flavio. B, Mario, Brawn etc. I Beleve that Todt will get it (although im strongly against it), mainly because he is more popular, and im not sure where i stand on the whole Todt buying votes thing.

    Also M. Mosley wants Todt, will Todt just be a continuation of M. Mosleys rule?

    • Hmm. But it’s the WMSC that deals with F1 issues, not the FIA President himself.

      And isn’t there a wider issue here? The FIA is about a whole lot more than F1. It’s not even just about motorsport, but we seem to be approaching the elections as if that is all it’s about.

      Or is that just because we’re F1 fans and this is an F1 site? Which I can understand, but I’d like to think we have a broader view.

      • ” But it’s the WMSC that deals with F1 issues, not the FIA President himself”. Really? Shouldn’t someone have alerted S&Max to that at some point in the last 18 years then…

        I’d love to see Vatanen win, for a whole host of reasons that I have previously posted on here & various other sites. But I highly doubt it will happen – more’s the pity.

  4. manatcna said on 23rd October 2009, 1:39

    What was MM meddling in for the last 16 years?

    Formula One

  5. LewisC said on 23rd October 2009, 1:49

    I’ll be surprised if it’s not Todt.

    Will be interesting to watch that interview tomorrow night though…

  6. Tkalk said on 23rd October 2009, 1:50

    The most worrying thing about Todt’s candidacy is that he wants to appoint an ‘F1 Commissioner’ to oversee the running of F1, while the FIA president looks at the big picture…. I can see Todt winning and him appointing Max as F1 commissioner….then we will all have to go and watch tennis or something…..

  7. Prisoner Monkeys said on 23rd October 2009, 2:02

    Currently hoping for Vatanen, but banking on Todt.

  8. wasiF1 said on 23rd October 2009, 2:35

    I hope Ari wins,well we are not going to the court for a very long time,time has come for us.

  9. Rikadyn said on 23rd October 2009, 2:44

    Hope in one hand, s#*t in the other…

  10. sato113 said on 23rd October 2009, 2:53

    Ari won’t make F1 a priority, but that shouldn’t matter. he has every right to fix the WRC, as i understand it is in a bit of a mess at the moment with only 2 manufacturers competing. I say go Ari!!!

  11. F1Yankee said on 23rd October 2009, 3:33

    does anyone have the candidates views in print? aside from motorsports, the fia oversees issues concerning regular motorists – what are their issues and how are they being addressed?

  12. Prisoner Monkeys said on 23rd October 2009, 3:40

    I’m still rooting for Ari, but having read and re-read the Autosport analysis of both candidates, I don’t think Todt is going to be an absolute evil. He may resemble the Mosley regime to begin with, but I get the sense that he’s aiming to change the FIA over a period of time, unlike Vatanen, who wants to do it all at ones. There are different management theories that argue for and against both ideas, which I won’t go into because they’re as dry as an overdone turkey, but my point in all of this is that I don’t think Todt will simply be a puppet of Mosley if he gets in, even if Mosley thinks he will be. Some of his policies – in particular the major reviews of systems – seem to be unlike anything Mosley would even consider. And I think Todt would know there is enough anti-Mosley sentiment to know that appointing Mosley as F1 Commissioner would be political suicide.

  13. I have to say, over the course of the campaign, Jean Todt has been far more positive than Ari Vatanen.

    Politics 101- To garner support and hurt your opponent, do something questionable. When your opponent points it out, adopt an attitude of aggrieved injured party and accuse him of running a negative “smear” campaign.

    Now, maybe I’m stupid, but if Todt was flying on jets owned by, or flights paid for by, the F1 Foundation(run by the FiA), then all he should be doing is taking care of Foundation business. If he takes lunch with the head of the local motorsports body and mentions even one word regarding election, then he is in the wrong. There were many reports that this is exactly what was happening, in different forms. Vatanen called him on it and all of a sudden Todt is talking about Vatanen attacking the F1 Foundation and what fine work the Foundation does and what a horrible man Vatanen is for doing such a thing.

    And did we ever REALLY get from Todt a clear answer regarding accusations of wrongdoing? Well, of course we did, it’s right here…..ummm, no, that was something else he said…..ummmm….HERE!….no, that was some other thing…..wait, it was here….I think….well, I’m sure he addressed it fully and openly with full transparency. Even tho I can’t find his answer, I’m sure he must have answered fully and openly. Why? Well…ummm….well, he said he did.

    And isn’t there a wider issue here? The FIA is about a whole lot more than F1. It’s not even just about motorsport, but we seem to be approaching the elections as if that is all it’s about.

    Wel, it should be all about motorsport, because that’s what got it all started. All this other stuff FiA has gotten into is strictly a side-line, or should be.

    ” But it’s the WMSC that deals with F1 issues, not the FIA President himself”.

    Really? Shouldn’t someone have alerted S&Max to that at some point in the last 18 years then…

    Good comment Pink.

    but Jean Todt seems to have a broad perspective, seems to have a much better perspective outside of motorsport

    And why would we need the president of FiA to know anything besides motorsport? Oh, or are you perhaps talking about issues related more to motoring in a socio-economic way?

    Yes, suppose you are right. Todt would be much better. I don’t suppose all those years as an EU Commissioner taught Ari Vatanen anything about things social, economic or geo-political.

    Wake up Folks! Todt is the “Old Guard”. Ari Vatanen is the best hope for a breath of fresh air and a modicum of sanity that FiA has had in 30 years. (I’m including Balestre’s tenure, as well as Mosley’s.)

    And let me remind folks of something: When Max Mosley was elected in ’93, one of the very first things he did was re-structure the entire FiA and did away with FISA. FISA was before that the body within FiA that took care of looking after Formula 1. With the demise of FISA, Mosley himself held daily sway over Formula 1.

    Jean Todt has said he will create a “Commissioner” to look after the various forms of motorsport, including Formula 1. Many have speculated he will appoint Mosley. Todt could have laid to rest any such speculation by producing a list of candidates for such a position. And probably gotten himself extra votes by doing aso. Yet we still know nothing of the man he plans to appoint to run F1. Should we not have known this before the elections? Why the secrecy? Well, I know, just a nut with a conspiracy theory, and believe me, I hope I’m wrong.

    Someone earlier(PM, I think) said that would be political suicide, if Todt made Mosley F1 Commissioner. Perhaps true. But, it WOULD put a single term after Mosley. Which means Mosley could run again in 2013. Intersting thought, that. Machiavellian enough for you? It barely touches what Mosley can think of, lol. And the funny thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

  14. GeeMac said on 23rd October 2009, 7:03

    Todt trying to coerce people to vote for him… I guess you start as you intend to go on.

  15. HounslowBusGarage said on 23rd October 2009, 8:39

    Personalities and associations aside, I think it’s time for a President from outside Formula One.

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