Todt calls for Vatanen 'dignity' as new battle heats up (GMM) With F1's political crisis close to being resolved, off-track attention is now turning to who will succeed FIA president Max Mosley when he steps down in October.
Currently, there are two candidates: Mosley's preferred heir Jean Todt and the independent candidate Ari Vatanen, whose first war of words is now fully in swing some three months before the election.
Finn Vatanen, 57, alleged in an interview this week that former Ferrari boss Todt's campaign is financially backed by the FIA; a claim that has already attracted rebukes from Todt's spokesman and the FIA Foundation.
63-year-old Todt has now issued his own censure by calling for "all candidates" to "conduct their campaigns with dignity".
"In future I hope everyone can stick to the issues and respect the integrity of this democratic process," the Frenchman added.
Even Ferrari has found itself drawn into the first round of hostilities, after Vatanen was quoted as revealing that the Italian team would prefer that Todt does not become president.
Vatanen had said: "At Ferrari they don't want Todt to be president, because they think the sport would lose credibility."
Although the FOTA alliance - actually with no vote in the election - is believed to favor Vatanen over Todt, Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni responded by insisting the team remains neutral.
"We have never expressed any preference for any candidate as the teams are not involved directly in the election of the president of FIA," he told inthenews.co.uk.