FIA body scolds Vatanen after Todt jibes

Ari Vatanen accused of making false claims about Jean Todt and Michelle Yeoh

(GMM) The FIA Foundation has formally rebuked Ari Vatanen.

Finn Vatanen, 57, earlier this week accused fellow FIA presidential candidate Jean Todt of receiving favoritism in the form of FIA funding, including the use of a private plane and travelling with his actress girlfriend Michelle Yeoh.

A spokesman for Todt responded by saying Vatanen had "misrepresented the (FIA) campaign's achievements", and denied the improper use of FIA funds.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the FIA Foundation Carlos Macaya wrote to Vatanen about the controversy, and made the letter available to the press.

The letter expressed "concern" about Vatanen's "totally false" claims, insisting that Todt's girlfriend Yeoh is in fact a voluntary ambassador for the Made Roads Safe campaign, while Todt also has official roles.

Like Todt, Vatanen is also a trustee of the FIA Foundation, an independent charity.

"It is very disappointing that you have chosen to misrepresent the work of a fellow trustee in this way and belittle the magnificent contribution being made by Michelle Yeoh," Macaya wrote.

"I appreciate that during the forthcoming election for the FIA presidency there needs to be open and robust debate. However, I would ask that you do not again misrepresent the role of the FIA Foundation in this way," he added.

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