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DATE News (chronologically)
07/20/09
racing news
Vatanen continues charge against rival Todt  
Ari Vatanen
(GMM)  Ari Vatanen on Monday revealed he is already backed by some influential figures and bodies as he vies to become the next FIA president.

The former world rally champion and European Parliamentarian, who is to face off against the incumbent Max Mosley's preferred successor Jean Todt, insists the October elections represent a choice between stale continuity or the fresh winds of change.

Interestingly, the 57-year-old Finn claims his view is widespread.

"The big, big majority of people involved in the FIA are not happy with the current state of affairs," he said in an interview with Italy's 422race.com.

"FIA is not in a very good health," Vatanen, who has criticized the way in which Todt has been positioned as Mosley's natural heir, added.

He believes the former Ferrari boss is being favored.

"Jean goes with a private plane with his girlfriend, supposedly as a FIA representative, to various parts of the world," said Vatanen.

"In fact, he is doing a campaign totally supported and paid of FIA," he added.

The FIA's club representatives of Spain and Germany said recently they were not yet in a position to declare their support for one candidate over the other.

But Vatanen said: "I'm just back from Spain and both the big Spanish clubs are behind me, the ADAC club (of Germany) is behind me, as is the biggest club in the world, the (American) AAA, in the person of his president Bob Dalbernet.

"We also need people from Asia and Africa behind a credible candidate," he added.

It is believed that more support can be found within the walls of the F1 manufacturers alliance FOTA's Geneva headquarters, although the teams actually have no say in the election of the sport's governing president.

Vatanen however insists he is "not the puppet of FOTA", even if he sympathizes with their plight amid the sport's recent political turmoil.

He believes the views of the teams, most prominently Ferrari, were ignored as Mosley tried to press ahead with budget capping.

"Ferrari is the most successful business concept in the automotive world and we must learn from the best practice in life," said Vatanen.

"Had they gone to a parallel championship, it would have been a disaster, but it would have been because they were obliged to go.

"They did not want to go, because it would have been lot of work for them, but it was reasonable," he added.

Vatanen also believes it is possible that Monaco's Michel Boeri, currently president of the FIA senate, will nominate.

"With Michel we are on the same side, because we are both for a new FIA.  We are definitely against conserving the current FIA, which Jean represents.  We are the persons for the change," he insisted.

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