Time to end ‘autocratic’ FIA rule – Vatanen

Ari Vatanen

GMM) Ari Vatanen on Saturday made clear he is standing for a form of FIA presidency in stark contrast to that of the controversial incumbent Max Mosley.

"It's the right time for change, you cannot govern in an autocratic manner," the 57-year-old Finn, who announced his candidacy at the Nurburgring circuit 24 hours earlier, told reporters in Germany.

The 1981 world rally champion, and multiple winner of the famous Dakar rally and until this year a European Parliamentarian, indicated he felt compelled to stand for the high office when the state of F1's political conflict seemed untenable.

He blames the way the Paris federation is run.

"You cannot govern any society in a one-sided way, you need to take all partners into account, you need to give people a feeling that they are important, because we are all in the same boat," said Vatanen.

Mosley, who became FIA president in 1993, has indicated he is prepared to dig in and fight off the threat posed by rebel formula one teams, but Vatanen said his mantra is conciliation.

Also unlike Mosley, who is almost daring FOTA to launch its breakaway series, Vatanen believes the split would all but destroy both sides.

"We have to remain together and we can only remain together if everybody is smiling — as we say in Finland it's better to have reconciliation and get a modest agreement than to have a big war," he said.

"If people are voting with their feet it means there is something wrong with the FIA and that has to be corrected. People must be proud of their family, and that's not the case today.

"We must keep this at a professional level, and that is what the FIA needs — unbiased professional management."

Interestingly, Vatanen indicated that on the other side of the presidential battle later this year could be the man seen by many as Mosley's preferred successor: Jean Todt.

"This cannot be an ego trip for anybody, not for Mosley, Jean Todt or Vatanen, this has to be for the FIA and only an independent man can bring the change about and swim against the current if necessary," he said.

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