Former World Rally Champ Vatanen announced prior to the German GP that he would be running for the presidency of motorsport's governing body in the October elections while outgoing president Max Mosley has long made it know that he wants Jean Todt to be his successor.
Earlier this week, the 69-year-old backed Todt in a letter sent to all FIA member clubs. "I believe the right person to head that team would be Jean Todt," Mosley wrote.
"Jean is unquestionably the outstanding motorsport manager of his generation, and arguably of any generation. If he agrees to stand, I think he would be the ideal person to continue, but also to extend the work of the past 16 years. He can be relied on in all areas where the FIA is active. I very much hope you will give him your support."
"They are very close friends and worked very closely together when Jean was at Ferrari and Max at the FIA. But that can also turn out to be a handicap," the 57-year-old Vatanen told the Associated Press. "You need a new star, you need an independent person who represents change. The fact that he has FIA support may somewhat distort the situation, but I'm not worried. When the wind starts changing, it does change. I'm not dethroning Jean – there's an opening. If I can resume my campaign in one way, something that Jean successfully applied to various disciplines and teams: If you want to win, take a Finn."