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FIA loses patience with Vatanen
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FIA loses patience with Vatanen
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Oct 2009   |  11:15 pm GMT  |  104 comments

Outgoing FIA president Max Mosley has issued two official press statements today on behalf of the FIA, heavily critical of one of the candidates to replace him, Ari Vatanen.

With the election exactly one week away, Vatanen is being depicted as a divisive an destabilising figure, who doesn’t really know what he’s doing, whereas Jean Todt is being portrayed as the ‘harmony candidate’ as well as the leader with the right qualities and experience.

Mosley: Vatanen hasn't bothered to understand (Photo: Darren Heath)

Mosley: Vatanen hasn't bothered to understand (Photo: Darren Heath)


It is now quite clear that Vatanen feels that next week’s election will not be conducted fairly. The format is a secret ballot and Vatanen has made a big fuss about the scope for electoral fraud. He has launched an action in the French courts to try to enforce certain controls on the election process. He has also made a number of comments in recent weeks about the need to ‘clean up’ the FIA and the way it is run by the current administration.

It’s pretty obvious that both Mosley and Todt are getting angry with him. The first FIA statement, this morning, picked up on the theme put about by Todt, attacking Vatanen’s negative comments about the FIA as it is today.

“The FIA will be calling on all candidates to avoid negative campaigning and prejudicial leaks to the media, ” said the statement. “Candidates should focus on the positive aspects and opportunities of the upcoming election and its effect on motoring and motor sport.”

The FIA also published a letter from Vatanen to Mosley and the response from the president, in which Vatanen expressed concern about the lack of neutrality on the part of many FIA officials. He claims that the breach of neutrality is punishable in French courts.

Mosley replies that Vatanen is mistaken if he thinks that any law has been broken by his officials and attacks Vatanen for his claims at the start of the campaign about Jean Todt using private jets and FIA funds to campaign around the world.

Later today, the FIA issued another statement saying that Vatanen was now challenging the integrity of the FIA, by filing his action,

“Mr Ari Vatanen, one of the candidates for the FIA Presidency, has today served on the FIA an application to the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris, asking the Court to impose a number of measures for the FIA election.

“Had Mr Vatanen troubled to examine the procedures in place, he would understand that these in fact already provide more safeguards than those he is asking the Court to impose.

“The FIA is therefore at a loss to explain the purpose of this legal action, if not merely to generate further negative publicity and to attempt to raise doubts about the honesty of FIA staff. This is despite the fact that a large team of FIA personnel has worked continuously over recent months to ensure that the new FIA President is elected in a dignified and democratic way.

“The FIA has retained a public official (a Huissier de Justice) to supervise the electoral process and the count. On 15 October the FIA circulated a note to all voting members outlining in detail the election process to be deployed and the role that the Huissier will play. This is available to download in the governance section of the FIA website.

“This legal action follows a number of allegations made by Mr Vatanen to the media which attempt to call into question the integrity of the FIA’s personnel and the FIA’s election process. However, Mr Vatanen has not taken up an invitation to specify and substantiate his allegations.”

Vatanen really is up against the Town Hall, as the saying goes.

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104 Comments
  1. Jem5x5 says:

    I liked the irony of

    “The FIA will be calling on all candidates to avoid negative campaigning and prejudicial leaks to the media, ”

    ..immediately followed by..

    The FIA also published a letter from Vatanen to Mosley..

    Vatanen’s certainly rattling their cages, isn’t he?

    1. kristian says:

      Yes, it doesn’t seem like things are going as smooth as planned for Mosley/Todt. And all the better for the FIA. Even if Vatanen doesn’t win, it always takes a challenger to broaden the scope of an incumbent’s campaign (or the incumbent’s heir as in this case).

      1. James Allen says:

        Excellent point, thanks for that

      2. knoxploration says:

        Nice in theory, but with the rules Mosley’s set up to prevent his removal still being around for Todt to use as well, as far as I can see his campaign pledges need mean nothing in practice. Once voted in, he can do the same as Mosley – exactly what he feels like, with no regard to what the people doing the racing think, even when they unanimously disagree with him.

    2. knoxploration says:

      Yep, it seems Todt and Mosley are terrified of the possibility they mightn’t get to rubber-stamp this one.

      Frankly, almost ALL of the negative publicity I’m seeing reported is coming from the Todt / Mosley camp, and increasingly due to their extremely close allegiance, it is becoming clear that a vote for Todt is a vote for continuing the status quo.

      With every passing press release from Mosley (excuse me, I mean the *ahem* “FIA”), my desire to see Vatanen win becomes rather stronger (and my fear for motorsport in general should he lose does the same).

      1. Phil says:

        I agree with your comments but am at a loss to see why Todt would be so keen to have the role. I thought there was no money involved for the job or am I being naieve?

      2. " for sure " says:

        It’s a bit like being an MP. It’s not the money, or in this case the lack of it, but what you can earn, sorry achieve, off of the back of it. Max hasn’t spent 16 years (have I got that right?) working for charity, and nor will Todt when he is ushered in by the FIA mafia.

        Unfortunately for Todt, Max has already given away the biggest prize when he gifted the F1 rights to Bernie for peanuts. Of course Max earned nothing on the back of that. Believe that if you will.

      3. john g says:

        “Unfortunately for Todt, Max has already given away the biggest prize when he gifted the F1 rights to Bernie for peanuts. Of course Max earned nothing on the back of that. Believe that if you will.”

        yep, it’s not that max mosely moved to a tax haven to avoid paying a large amount from the gift he happened to recieve from a close friend and F1 associate at the time, rather that apparently in some law that no-one had ever heard of, had he stayed he could have been held responsible, and subsequently jailed, if a driver died in a race. believe that if you will ;)

      4. jose says:

        There is a thing he loves much more than money. “Power” it’s what keeps him going.
        They might win this one, it’s a matter of time, people are tired of this dictatorship.

    3. jed says:

      These are all political rubbish. Both camps have their own hidden agenda. Both camps are doing their own power play. The richest camp will win. it seems now that todt can outspend Vatanen that is why he is whining like this. this is Vatanen graceful exit and excuse to those who funded his campaign. As a candidate he knows where he stands and if he is smart he would know if he should spend more or live to fight another day. Vatanen’s actions seems he is going to do the latter and the court case is to justify his holding back on his funds. this is politics and this is how it goes.

  2. Jeff Regan says:

    When it comes to truth and fairness, the FIA would not be on my short list as an organization having any familiarity with same, just as the words “transparency” and “Todt” don’t belong in the same sentence.

    I look forward to the day when Max is on gardening leave, but will believe it when I see it.

  3. Paul says:

    Dose Ari Vatanen have Todt/Mosley worried? Seems like there is a high level of personal attacks in this campaign. Was it like this when Max got in?

    1. James Allen says:

      There was a little bit of bluster from Jean Marie Balestre, but what he didn’t realise is that Mosley had quietly gone all around the world months ahead of the election and got his support base established, so Balestre didn’t have a chance.

      1. Patrickl says:

        Just like Todt did this time? Going around handing out McLaren’s fine money? All on official FIA business of course.

      2. Brace says:

        Just curious, James, who finances their campaigns?
        …apart from the McLaren financing Todt’s.

  4. Werewolf says:

    I guess this kind of thing was inevitable. As much as I distrust the FIA hierarchy, I’m afraid the harsh reality is that influence can only really be applied from within. Whatever his ideology, Vatanen is going to be divisive and will alienate a lot of valuable people – and has probably done an excellent job of doing just that today, probably including ‘floating’ supporters of his own campaign who may be proud FIA members.

    It’s sad but true that being right ‘don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world’ and you have to play the game if you’re going to win it. As an experienced politician (well, an MEP I suppose is broadly comparable), Vatanen should have fought a better campaign.

  5. ashley edwards says:

    We have Todt how has worked in f1 before, who has no new ideas and is best buds mosley or we can have Vatanen who the most of the fans want and has fresh ideas. Vatanen would get my vote

  6. Louis says:

    Just like some races in F1, this one looks like it’ll be decided in the courts. Great job by Vatanen, by putting into question the legitimacy of the voting procedure, he’ll make sure he’ll get a chance to take this to whatever court has jurisdiction over the FIA. Not a very clean tactic, but hey, we’re talking about the FIA here.

  7. Brian Morrison says:

    Fairly simple I think.

    The FIA is saying “We’re slightly concerned that this man might win!”

  8. Fausta says:

    Vatanen is up against the “good old boys” and has an uphill battle. Of course Mosley and his cronies are going to protect their interests and their little club. I hope Vatanen sweeps them out of there!

  9. Darren says:

    Vatanen would get my vote, what about you James please tell who would get your vote :-) (if you can)

    1. James Allen says:

      It is not for me to say who I would like to win – my job is to observe what happens, point out what I find interesting about it and above all, to remain impartial.

      1. PaulL says:

        C’mon James it’s your own blog! :) Nah I respect your call on that.

      2. Kevin Shepherd says:

        So Vatanen then.

      3. Matt says:

        James, fair play for remaining impartial but I have to ask….Do you not feel that Max and Bernie too should have remained impartial instead of publicly backing Todt?

        Not surpried by Max as hes always one to shoot from the hip but I would have thought if Vatanen does win then the relationship with Bernie will start of shaky ground no?

        Interest to know your thoughts on this.

      4. CTP says:

        and also to remember who pays your salary for the work you do in official press conferences on gp weekends, right.

      5. James Allen says:

        Wrong. It’s TV – nothing to do with the FIA

      6. russ says:

        Wow since when have you been impartial??

  10. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

    James,

    No disrespect, but I think you are feeding into exactly the problem with Max Mosley with headlines such as “FIA Loses Patience With Vatanen,” when clearly it’s Mosley himself who is behind all of the “official” press releases targeting him. Mosley thinks he is the FIA, and he wants journalists like you to think that, too. We can assume this is the same approach Todt will take.

    It’s ridiculous yet predictable that Mosley could portray what are honest and well-meanings criticisms of certain FIA actions as somehow “divisive” and insulting.

    It seems like the Mosley-Todt camp are starting to feel a little angst. Perhaps the election is closer than we all thought it would be?

    1. James Allen says:

      You have missed the subtlety of my point, Paige.

  11. Chad says:

    Can anyone explain how Max can say “The format is a secret ballot” when the procedure we saw last week indicated each ballot paper would be marked with the voters identity?

    1. alex m says:

      Chad, please, “a large team of FIA personnel has worked continuously over recent months to ensure that the new FIA President is elected in a dignified and democratic way”

      A Large team…..worked continuously over recent months…. Amazing how with all this work they have done, over many months, could culminate in a decision to send out DELIBERATELY MARKED BALLOT PAPERS.

      Even Mugabe stopped short of this one, as for claiming that they want the “new FIA President is elected in a dignified and democratic way” it does rather show that the elderly egotist believes he should be able to steal the election in a quiet and dignified way, with no opposition, smell or questions.

      Threatening retribution to members who vote against him, while sending out marked balot papers [so you can see who voted against you and get back at them] tells any innocent observers what we are watching, a fraud.

      Forza Ari !

      Shame James, you cannot say what you really think because you know Max would ruin your ability to function as a F1 journalist as he has done to so many who questioned him before.

    2. Chad says:

      After reading the actual published voting procedure I see the ballots are not to be individually marked after all.

      http://fialive.fiacommunications.com/en-GB/the-fia/governance/elections/Documents/voting_procedure_en.pdf

      Interesting to note Max allegedly threw Ari out of his office on Wednesday for wanting to discuss the voting procedure…

      And the procedure document there is dated Thursday.

      Wonder if Ari’s play to make an issue out of this actually worked already?

  12. F1 Kitteh says:

    Is Vatanen scoring own goals? In FIAs words, I am At a loss to understand what he’s trying to do

    1. Peter Freeman says:

      Ah! Let me help you here: He is trying to force the FIA to hold a free and fair election, something they have never done before.

      I for one think its quite a good idea actually :)

      1. F1 Kitteh says:

        I think Ari probably has good intentions, more impartial than Todt and even a better agenda on improving the governance of the FIA, but the way that he seems to be going about it doesn’t feel very slick and embarrasses the people that he needs votes from? All the mucking about with the letters and court orders, but Mosley’s replies frankly make him look a bit foolish. Overall I would say he would make a wonderful strategiest but needs a front man to sell the program. Its a shame actually, I saw his brief appareance on Inside F1 and he seems to be very intelligent, coherent and totally different from what I was expecting from reading about this from the internet since the campaign began.

  13. Jimm says:

    Vatanen is right to be concerned about a fixed election. If anyone believes Mosley wouldn’t stoop to fixing an election, they don’t know Mosley.

    I’m surprised so few in the press are making an issue of the clear lack of oversight this election will have, especially given all the fixed elections we’ve seen in the past year. Zimbabwe? Afghanistan?

    From reading the FIA brief, there will be just a one “impartial” French official present. A man who has seemingly been hand picked by the current, and hugely biased FIA administration. As for independent oversight, each campaign will be permitted just ONE single overseer. The remaining entirety of the election staff will be made of extremely biased FIA officials.

    Vatanen’s single overseer will be completely overwhelmed by those aligned against him. A single overseer, no matter how competent, cannot hope to detect fraud if every other person in the room is conspiring against him.

    I don’t believe Vatanen is doing this for political reasons, I believe Vatanen is truly concerned about a fixed vote. Vatanen has been pressing for these election reforms for well over a month. The fury with which Mosley has resisted neutral election officials speaks volumes.

    I think Vatanen is hoping that if the noise he’s making doesn’t force the FIA to employ neutral election officials, it will at least scare FIA staffers from going though with a fix. Vatanen’s quotes of French law were no accident.

    The truth is that no matter their intent, Max and Jean [mod] could not fix this election on their own, they would need the fixing to be done by FIA staffers. By quoting French law, I believe Vatanen is telling Mosley’s minions that if they dare to fix an election in France, they can expect to be fitted for French prison uniforms.

    Given the money behind Vatanen’s election effort, I’ve little doubt that any attempt to fix this election [mod] would be quickly revealed. [mod]

    1. James Allen says:

      An interesting analysis, thanks

    2. David Hodge says:

      I am afraid Max is showing a little economy with the truth here.

      The closest translation for a Huissier de Justice in English would be “Bailiff”. Huissiers are NOT employees of the French government – they are a branch of the legal profession with their own registered chamber.

      Say you owed me some money. I could follow French legal procedure and eventually employ a Huissier to visit your house with me and remove goods to settle the debt. So if we arrived at your house, do you think that Huissier would be fair and impartial? No, the Huissier would be working for me and it would be me who is paying their fee. So the FIA has employed a Huissier? Draw your own conclusions.

      In this instance, the Huissier is there to bear witness to the elections. Think of other tribunals – the Hutton enquiry in Britain for example – where an “impartial” observer is appointed but since you already know who is employing the observer, you know which way the enquiry will go. Again, draw your own conclusions.

      Let’s hope for a great race this weekend and (although I am biaised of course) we will be talking about a Great British WDC next week.

    3. " for sure " says:

      Jimm makes some excellent points. There are of course any number of truly independant, highly reputable organisations, who can be retained in these situations to run an election on behalf of someone like the FIA.

      No surprise that Max is not using one of them.

  14. CTP says:

    but what do YOU think, james? this post is lacking in editorial, no?

    1. rpaco says:

      I think the editorial was in it’s title. :-)

      An independent French judge ?????? He is kidding!

      Hasn’t anyone been watching “Spiral” It’s in French but a really excellent expose of how French “justice” works. (If anyone doesn’t know it’s quite different to the UK system, the judges get to say what should be investigated, and what to leave alone, not just accept the evidence presented, they actively direct the police investigations.)

      So a hand picked judge is an excellent investment. His superior will have been approached as to his attitude and the preferable outcome. His advancement will depend not entirely, but largely, on his relationship with his superior.

  15. Buck says:

    Perhaps they should move the election to Afghanistan to ensure a fair, corruption-free voting process.

  16. Arnet says:

    Yes he definitely is, but I fear that it may take more than a good rattling to unseat those welded to their FIA seats. This is bringing out the worst in Max and is forcing Todt and his backers to show their true colours. I fear the worst, the furthering of Max’s agenda and a Putinesque stepping back, not a stepping out.

    James, can you comment on why the teams have been universally mute on the election? Is it that they fear reprisals should it go a certain way? Joe Saward has said as much,that annoying either side is not worth the bother because of the possible consequences.

    1. James Allen says:

      Got to weigh up the value of it; the teams have no vote in this.

    2. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

      Ferrari certainly isn’t staying out of it. Schumacher campaigning for Todt is one thing; Massa, a current driving, speaking out in his favor is quite another, as I’m sure he wouldn’t have done so as a driver of F1′s most political team if he either wasn’t directed or blessed to do so by the management.

      Sure, Todt and Ferrari may not have split on the best of terms. But the fact he was team principal of the team for whom there is very strong evidence of favoritism by the current FIA administration raises too significant off a question about whether or not he will be impartial.

    3. " for sure " says:

      Not sure that’s a fair reflection of Joe’s position?

      1. Arnet says:

        It’s quite possible that I misinterpreted his position.

        “Readers may have noticed that I have completely ignored the FIA elections in recent weeks. This has been a deliberate policy as I do not wish to be accused by one side or the other of favouritism and given the shenanigans going on between them it is inevitable that even objective reporting will be viewed as partisan.”

        http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/the-fia-election/

      2. " for sure " says:

        Amet, thanks for the clarification. In fairness I thought you were being critical of Joe’s own position re. reprisals, rather than his view of how the teams might see it.

  17. Benjamin says:

    The FIA and Todt are being crybabies… what do they fear?

  18. Paul Kirk says:

    I’m behind Ari all the way, I don’t blame him for wanting to ensure the secret ballot should be counted correctly, also, I’ve thought for years that the FIA has been a sort of “closed shop” involving a bunch of sharks, (Mosely, Ecceleston, etc) who are running F1 for their own financial gain! And I’d be betting that if Todt get’s in he’ll be carrying on with, and guided by, his old mates Hakleston and Mossly. Can’t imagine him introducing any new raegemes that weren’t authorised by Hackalstone and Musslee! Can you? I like Ari Vatinen’s style, and I agree it’s time for the FIA to be guided by new blood! GO ARI!

  19. explosiva says:

    Mosley makes me sick.
    “Sir” Frank Williams, w/ his opposition to a 14th team and insistence on using KERS next year, also makes me sick.
    Wholesale change is needed in F1 politics. That means everyone who is loyal to Mosley needs to be banned from the sport.

    1. rmh says:

      Sir Frank is only following the rules. The Concorde Agreement only makes provision for 13 teams, not 14. Sir Frank, by resisting BMW’s entry at this point in public, is only using it as a stick to beat Bernie up for some concessions.

      Take adding an extra race beyond 17 – Bernie has to pay the teams MORE for that extra race because it is a variation to the contract between FOM and the teams. When you have such a shrewd operator as Bernie, you need to use each and every ace you hold to maximum effect. Sir Frank has been in F1 long enough to know this.

      If the teams all say “yes, lets have another team”, Bernie would probably say “ok”.. then when it came to sharing out the pot of money from CVC, he’d say “Here’s your 1/14th of the pot”. Sir Frank probably wants the pot increased so that all the teams don’t suffer.

      One final point, Williams have agreed NOT to use KERS next year. Read into that announcement that some agreement has been reached regarding the future re-introduction of KERS and THAT is what Sir Frank wanted.

  20. Sam says:

    Despite, being a big fan of Schumi and Ferrari, I am not convinced with what Michael said about Jean, particularly ‘Todt will change FIA’.

    They are obviously on the same page and I don’t see there will be any change of direction. Todt may make FIA looks better in public domain but that’s all I think.

    James, I know I shouldn’t ask this but if you had a chance, who would you vote and why?

    Thanks

  21. rossetto says:

    The FIA remind me of the Vatican or the Church of the Middle Age.
    FIA at the moment looks like an absolutely ridiculous institution filled with grotesque characters.

  22. rpaco says:

    Well having just read the FIA voting procedure I am slightly perturbed that it does not contain the actual voting procedure .
    It goes as far a each voting member having his identity checked and picking a random unmarked envelope containing voting papers. The member is then given a dossier containing the meeting agenda. There is nothing at all about how the vote is to be carried out. Do they have to vote a the table? or are there privacy booths? Is it by marking the paper or by inserting the paper and pressing buttons or what?
    The only thing the document established is the random picking of voting papers. These however are already divided into 3 groups. So obviously there is a means of identifying each group of voters, why I wonder.
    the document is here:
    http://www.fia.com/en-GB/the-fia/governance/elections/Documents/voting_procedure_en.pdf

    1. I think the three piles are to make sure that the correct number of the correct type of vote is used by each of the three kinds of organisation (sporting organisations get one sporting vote, touring organisations get one touring vote and combined organisations get two votes). The vote type would presumably be used for statistics (particularly useful to corroborate predictions such as the one Ari made concerning his support base) and the number of votes would help figure out how many voters were absent.

      There are probably other ways of doing the same thing though, and there may be other reasons why the three-pile method is used.

  23. Retro says:

    I hate this kind of actions by FIA. This is clear warning to all those who are going to vote for Vatanen and when they see who votes it’s bad for FIA even if Vatanen doesn’t win.

    I think that Mosley +company have noticed that a lot of members of FIA aren’t happy how they run the bisness. Within few years there have been shown that money comes first in F1.

    There is FIA that doesn’t have any rules that they would follow. Penalties are idiotic sometimes and you can do pretty much anything and still get away from it.

    If Todt wins by huge marging that doesn’t mean that Vatanen wasn’t real challenge. That means FIA scared every1 off from supporting him. Todt is wanted because he got skeletons in his closet and will be great puppy for Bernie and Max. They dont’ want some fair and fresh guy in charge what they can’t control.

  24. C.M. says:

    We all know who would win, if all the motorsport fans in the world would get to vote. But things aren’t so simple. I think more you’re into motorsport, more worried you should be – should Jean Todt win. Look at the people supporting him – Mosley, Ecclestone, Schumacher, Massa, Ferrari. It almost feels like Star Wars movie with dark side versus all the good.

    Todt is still situated with Ferrari. Altough they try to say there’s no connection anymore, I’ve heard better lies. Todt winning, it would not be “let’s make the sport better”, “let’s ask what the fans think” it would be pure business to him, dirty business.

  25. MorrisOx says:

    This has got echoes of the banking world about it – huge vested interests bending over backwards to avoid being swept away by a new broom. I’m not sure Vatanen has the savvy to pull this one off, but the spectacle of a discredited president siding publicly with a divisive figure from the pitlane’s past is tinpot dictatorship stuff.
    It smacks of the sport once again not realising just how tarnished its image is in the outside world. How is it going to bring sponsors back on board when it still appears obsessed with petty political infighting driven by shabby personal interest?
    The FIA may be far more than F1, but you’d never know from the way Mosley and Todt conduct themselves. This is just the usual motorhome mudslinging dressed up as a political crusade. Pathetic.

  26. Nik James says:

    Where are the checks and balances in the FIA? US politics has 3 pillars of power to stop the president becoming a ‘dictator’. Does the senate provide this role as right now I would say that Max has acted ultra vires ie beyond his remit ie his letter to the middle east prince stating he was backing a losing horse.
    Secondly one of the checks and balances in western press is the role of the media, however in this case the FIA control the media passes. Is this why we are seeing a lack of editorial and media comment about the conduct of these elections.

  27. Spyros says:

    It’s interesting that Max’s (sorry, I mean FIA’s) reply to Vatanen’s letter, doesn’t adress the little matter of Mosley telling Vatanen that he supports Todt, before Todt even confirmed that he will stand for FIA president.

    This election is really getting interesting now…

  28. Elly says:

    Mosley’s era should come to the end, of course. But… By my opinion, Todt won’t be his reincarnation. Now he needs Mosley’s support and that’s why hints on continuation of Mosley’s course are possible. But Todt is too clever to do just the same and to continue Mosley’s dictatorial policy. It has bothered all for a long time.
    On the other hand Vatanen is very much tries to carry out his super reforms. Probably, more counterbalanced president is necessary to the organisation.
    Todt would get my vote.

  29. ah1 says:

    The FIA, or rather, the person who has been in control of it up until this year, has damaged the image of formula one massively, and will continue to do so under Todt’s inevitable leadership. Formula one needs to break away in 2012, and hope that the FIA doesnt completely ruin it by then.

  30. David Hodge says:

    Just a thought… if the vote ends up for Ari, will we see a repeat of the Irish Lisbon Treaty vote where it goes round and round until they vote the right way?

  31. F1racer says:

    I suspect, like most F1 fans, I thought that Vatanen seemed like a good candidate, but the more this rolls on, the less impressed I am.

    Everyone expects the dirty tricks from Mosely, but Vatentan unnerves me. As someone who is keen to get the courts involved and doesn’t seem to care about the contrversy he causes with some of his “bold” comments, he reminds me of Mosely a little too much in some ways.

    Vatentan seems a good bloke with the best intentions, but I am not sure the stupid politics would end if he won.

  32. Michael says:

    Watching Vatanen on inside F1 was quite interesting. At the end when asked if he could win he paused for a while, not quite knowing how to answer. I think he has probably conceded he can’t win at this point but is going to try to make a change whatever the outcome.

    1. Smellyden says:

      I thought it went the other way actually like he knew he had the support to win, but did not want to be over confident and arrogant.

  33. Ago says:

    Hi Guys,
    In France any “association” (NGO) can organise their vote at their General Assembly and the secret ballot is the fairest way to vote as nobody can know who voted what.
    The votes will be secret as nothing is written on the enveloppe obviously! (Chad before making wrong statements please see on the FIA website: FIA/Gevernance/elections/voting procedure). The counting will be supervised by delegates named by the candidates and a french “huissier de justice”. The huissier is not mandatory to have and shows the goodwill of the FIA to ensure the fairness of the election. This man is an independant observer (more or less like an english bailiff)
    Cheating is going to be very difficult as the number of voters is well known so it will not be possible to add votes.
    Mr Vatanen is very nervous and starts complaining about ridiculous things: Obviously any member of the FIA can say what they want including who they support, can’t you? Ari himself asked to Mosley’s support earlier this year… In a free country anybody can speak about their vote, make it public, try to convince others, any elected person can tell who they want to take their position when they leave their office. What is wrong with that? Any MP does just that!

    In my eyes the only question worth asking is: Are we sure that the people will vote for -who they believe is- the best candidate, or will they vote because they get an advantage (money, position…) from the result of the vote. I’m afraid this question is as old as democraty is.
    After all who can say if one’s vote is not decided by a promise he has from a candidate?

  34. Andy Davies says:

    I’m seriously considering writing to the Charity Commission in the UK over reports that one of the FIA charities has been campaigning on Todt’s behalf – it’s a serious breach of the rules.

    You can stay out and observe all you like James but can’t an observer say that they think it’s odd how the head of the FIA has become so involved in the politics of selecting his successor?

  35. Claire says:

    Please don’t anyone judge me in this, I support Vatanen as much as the next motorsport fan, but I can’t help but listen to what Mosley has got to say.
    Recent press has shamed Max with his private life which has made it so easily to forget his history. What I will fail to forget about Mosley is his outstanding intellect and ability to be a leader (as I’ve said recent press has distorted or made irrelevant this truth).
    Therefore I can’t help but wonder why he is backing Todt; his strong alliance with Ferrari could only ever be a negative in his election campaign. I will still never be able to trust him after seeing footage of his behaviour during “Spygate”, how he would close doors or finish conversations when he noticed a camera was watching. That is not what you want from your president.
    But for Mosley to back Todt, there must be more to it. Post-victory promises? Financial benefits? Or does Max truly believe that he is the man for the job?

  36. Neil Hobson says:

    It seems that Mosley has decided that he must have at least one more battle before he retires. How unsurprising. I don’t see what the benefit is for Mosley, unless he has some skeletons hanging around that Todt has promised would stay hidden.

    This election will come down to whether the voters actually want to see a totally fresh leadership, or whether they are comfortable with the status quo. I would say this would depend on how much they would benefit from keeping the existing set-up.

    For me, a vote for Todt is a vote for selfish self-interest and jobs for the boys. A vote for Vatenen is a vote for clarity, professionalism and a desire to have a governing body worthy of the title.

    I think if Vatenen is smart he simply needs to ask the voting members whether they want to make their own choice, or whether they want to be told what to do by teacher and blindly follow their instructions.

    Men, or mice?

  37. Antoine says:

    If Jean Todt doesn’t win, he’ll unfortunately inherit all the “bad” image/publicity from Mosley…

  38. Steph says:

    Mosley and PR really don’t go hand in hand at the moment, do they? Not that he cares. It makes no difference to him what we think.

  39. mp4-19b says:

    I attribute the success of modern day ferrari to Jean Todt. He is the architect of this modern day team.They were no where after the death of Enzo in 1988. He quickly transformed a struggling team into a winning one. although some of the dubious, dirty, cheap tactics might never been forgotten, the man must get some credit for transforming the team. the point I’m trying to make:

    1) How can a team, which owes its success in recent time not be supportive of the man who guided them to success?
    2) How can a man, who got a platform, in the form of ferrari to demonstrate his managerial skill( I know they were cheap & dirty) no be supportive of his former team?

    His ties with Ferrari are too deep & too strong for him to be able to provide transparent governance.

    Jean todt is a name everyone associates with 3 things

    1) FERRARI
    2) SCHUMACHER
    3) CHEATING

    I’m not sure if people would associate his name with

    1) HONESTY
    2) TRANSPARENCY
    3) FIA PRESIDENCY.

    Hence imho Todt must not be allowed to contest the election, if he does contest I’m damn sure he’ll win, because he’s got the backing of the red Italian mafia & S&M Mosley.

    Remember this!! Anyone endorsed by Mad Max has to be mad. Bad company spoils even good people. Max & Todt have been very close to each other since the latter’s retirement from Ferrari. So we don’t know yet as to how much Jean’s been influenced by Mosley. Mosley is like a pandemic.

    And finally haven’t we had enough of one “Jean?? Remember Jean-Marie Balestre, the eccentric fella? It was because of this man that we’ve ended up with Max Mosley :( & now Max is returning the favour by vouching for Jean Todt. Jean I tried to finish off the sport, Jean II will make sure he finishes it off!!Too many Jean’s & too many Max’s are bad for the sport. Isn’t it? so imho we do not want any more British or Frenchmen . We need someone who can “FINNISH” the job for us, the fans. So I highly recommend a “FINNISH” gentleman by the name Ari Vatanen who is ofcourse is from finland & is finnish. I’m sure he’ll finnish the unfinnished job at the FIA. :)

  40. Mario says:

    Chant with me everybody!: We want Ari! We want Ari!

  41. ChrisS says:

    This is an interesting quote:
    “The reason no-one has stood against [guess who] until now… is not that everyone agrees with him… It’s because they fear, rightly or wrongly, that the consequences could be adverse. That’s completely wrong… The idea that the [FIA] is the property of one man, and trying to take the presidency from him is like trying to take his house or his car, is alien to any properly-run club”.

    That was Max Mosley talking about former FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre in 1991. The wheel has come full circle.

    1. Neil Barr says:

      Well played, sir!

  42. john g says:

    are the FIA (or rather max mosely – we should probably not portray the whole FIA negatively when it’s really just max and his cronies doign most of the dirty work) not putting themselves in a bad light a bit, by reacting so angrily to ari’s suggestion that a number of measures be put in place to ensure a fair and transparent election… it’s almost as if they have something to fear!! ;)

    and while max can say he is proper and fair, and the victim of damaging words, whilst ari is the devil in disguise, making entirely false accusations until he is blue in the face, does *anyone* believe him? my belief is that he is totally corrupt – not perhaps unlawful in the strictest sense, but certainly improper and immoral. then again the FIA seem to be a law unto themselves.

    max claimed that everything he did, he believed to be the right thing to do. i’m sure someone else close to his family had the same belief too… not saying max is guilty of mass gross atrocities, but there does seem to be a similar sociopathic bent

  43. Bill says:

    The sad thing about this whole sorry episode is that Max’s legacy is now well and truly tainted. It’s easy to forget that when he became president of FISA in ’91 and the FIA in ’93 he carried with him the popular support of the people against the obviously old-school and corrupt Jean-Marie Ballestre. Over the next few years he did a lot of really great things for the sport and was a breath of fresh air.
    Forward to 2009 and it’s 1991 all over again; Max is now seen as the Ballestre figure – the kind of guy you couldn’t trust as far as you could throw him. And I’m very much one of those people myself.

    Why does this always seem to happen in politics? The guy did a lot of really great work and oversaw the modernisation of Formula 1. What will he be remembered for? Being dressed up in a concentration camp uniform and fixing this election. Hardly a glorious legacy.

  44. Rhys Xanthis says:

    The fact that the FIA is issuing statements similar to the 2nd one indicates the need for major change in my book.

  45. Sven says:

    Seems like Mosely are very afraid indeed for Vatanen to win. Could it be there are too many skeletons hided which would be exposed if Vatanen come into office.

  46. Ben G says:

    All this plays into Vatanen’s hands. I can’t quite believe Mosley is both giving him the publicity, and playing up to the ‘Vatanen = Change’ theme.

  47. A. N. Other says:

    In other news, fans lose patience with Mosley.

    That photo of Mosley positively oozes malevolence. But I bet
    he’s fun at parties, as long as he gets to chose the “theme”
    of the party …

  48. I like potatoes says:

    By far the greatest part of his most recent exchange of letters seems to have been missed out here.

    Jean and Ari had a meeting with Max earlier in the week, as agreed, to discuss the electoral process and how the vote would be conducted.

    Ari, quite rightly, asked Max for an assurance that the ballot would be secret and the election fair. Max kicked him out of the meeting and slammed the door in his face.

    That’s why Ari’s gone the legal route. because after that meeting, he’s got absolutely no faith that this election will be run in a fair manner.

    And who could blame him?

  49. Rupert M says:

    James, I am not sure about the title of your piece here- FIA looses patience with Vatanen… Surely it’s not the FIA’s position to have an opinion on this. Vatanen has called into question the integrity of the voting process for the FIA presidency next week, it would seem rightly so by what has been reported in the news papers this week- and judging by the recent information leaked into the press about FIA officials working on Todt’s campaign- quite frankly who can blame him for raising these concerns.

    Clearly Moseley, and his internal FIA team has been bullying eligible voters with threats and ramification for ‘not’ voting for Todt, and FIA officials/ employees have been using FIA time and materials to canvass on Todt’s behalf. Outrageous in it’s own right.

    Its time the press, including this site, stood up and said what they think, now is the time to bring Moseley/ Todt’s camp into the lime light for what they are doing. No-one seems to be saying what they think, only what is perceived to be politically correct… But of course, you rely on the FIA for relevant passes and access to F1 races and hence your livelihood, so I can understand your hands are tied.

    Pitpass has made a good effort at allowing us to understand the effect Todt as FIA president will have on F1- basically a continuation of what we have already. Planet F1 has made a good effort as well. Grand Prix Racing, and AutoSport have both been embarrassingly quiet on the subject. I wonder why…..

    The time to act on this is now. No one wants a continuation of what we have had to endure over the past 12 years. Todt has already been thrown out of Rallying for cheating; what on earth do we want him as FIA president? It was hard enough enduring his term at Ferrari- no matter how successful he may have been, the integrity of which is again, a matter of opinion. Change is needed.

    Its obvious to me the cards are stacked against Vatanen, and it’s not because Vatanen cant do the job, it’s because Moseley prefers another candidate.

    Is the FIA vote going to be democratically fair next week? Based on how the FIA has been run over Moseley’s term, and what has been going on during this election campaign thus far- very doubtful, in my opinion.

    The press needs to ‘step in’ and report what is actually happening, rather than what they think Moseley wants to hear- slanted and watered down reporting.

    Its all well and good praising the existing president for achievements made under his term, but frankly, I believe anyone in his position would have achieved this. Look at what the European government has done for Europe over this time.

    Mosley should have gone when he was exposed in 2008, Todt shouldn’t be eligible to stand for the FIA presidency- who likes a cheat…

    Rupert M- London.

    1. C.M. says:

      Vey well said Rupert! Could not agree more.

  50. Madhu says:

    James,

    probably off topic! Have you got any new information about kimi’s future in this weekend’s gp?

    Madhu

  51. monktonnik says:

    You know, I often think that if it wasn’t for the ITV coverage of F1 from the 1990′s onwards most of us wouldn’t have heard of Max Moseley, and possibly even the FIA.

    I am not saying that we shouldn’t be concerned, but will we really notive a difference whoever wins?

  52. Adron Gardner says:

    Somebody shaking up the succession? If Ari is clueless, then why all the fear? I don’t think there is a whole lot the FIA can portend to be transparent about.

    Sounds like a bunch of sacred cows are worried they’re off to the slaughterhouse. Good riddance if they are.

  53. rossetto says:

    Most of the press are embarrassing quiet because they need FIA passes to work.
    That is pretty simple and sad.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think we need to calm down a bit here. Just because you have one world view and some others like CTP and Rupert agree with it, does not mean that everyone must follow your world view. You try to bully me into supporting your world view, but I choose not to. End of story.

      And the bit about journos living in fear of their passes is overplayed by people who have never operated in F1 and don’t know how it works.

      1. Rob says:

        James,

        I think your blog is fantastic at digging below the surface, giving us a real insight into what goes in Formula 1. Combining your approach of twitter for instant race weekend updates and the blog for less time critical and more in depth reporting is the best of both worlds.

        Regarding your coverage of the FIA election, I would have felt far more comfortable reading your articles if you did explicitly present your world view. As it is, I’m left wishing for more context. I’m more than happy reading someone’s views, whether I agree with them or not.

        There have been a couple of stories on the election deemed big enough for national newspaper coverage this week, it would be nice to hear your views on them when you get chance (to be fair, the Mail on Sunday is only out today, and the story isn’t as important as race weekend info!).

        Anyway, keep up the good work and please don’t take my comments as anything more than well meaning feedback.

        Rob

  54. Motorsport fan says:

    From what I though, a journalist’s job is to report on the facts, not to sway their readers to their personal way of thinking.

    Blogs like this encourage you to think for yourself and form your own opinions, not demand the judgements of other people.
    Why do you think there is a comments section?

  55. Ago says:

    Seriously, can somebody tell me how the cheating will be organised? In other words how do you think it can be done?
    Because of course it is easy to say “they will cheat” but technically how do you do that?
    … knowing that delegates of the 2 candidates will supervise the vote?

    Can somebody answer, as I am very interested -and quite an expert on voting procedures- Thank you very much…

    1. Peter Freeman says:

      They planned to number the ballot envelopes, so each member would be given their very own ‘secret’ ballot with their very own PERSONAL number on it so NO ONE could POSSIBLY know who’s envelope it was OR who they voted for!

      1. Ago says:

        They planned? I’m afraid the actual voting procedure (as described on the FIA site) says very clearly “it will not be possible to distinguish the envelopes”.
        No, again the only question is: Why is a club going to vote for Ari or Jean? Because the club believes A or J are best for the job or because the club has an incentive to vote for one of them…

      2. Peter Freeman says:

        That was changed after Vatanen brought it to attention and opened the court case! They DID plan to number the envelopes!

  56. john g says:

    here’s a question – if mosely et al had stayed quiet and not expressed any support of either candidate, would todt be a lot more popular than he appears to be (to the casual observer at least). mosely clearly doesn’t know how he is perceived and the damage he (and by association the FIA) has done by clearly supporting todt. or maybe he does, but doesn’t care, because he is influencing the people that will vote, and doesn’t give a crap about the fans of the sport whose opinion carries absolutely no weight in this election.

  57. Rich C says:

    It just is unseemly for any organization to be ‘officially’ criticising people who are running for its head office. The FIA itself should not be involved in a partisan manner.

  58. knoxploration says:

    Interesting (and not altogether surprising) to see that today’s news has reports of Todt’s representatives essentially offering bribes for votes, and making veiled threats should they not win:

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/79568

    1. Peter Freeman says:

      I hope this is ground for further court action, in fact it sounds like criminal charges need to be brought into play and JT should be disqualified from standing!

      1. Ago says:

        Before the potential trial you already have the judgement ;) Any proof of that? Uganda does not stand in my top list of democratic countries either.
        … and Ari has just dropped the case he had put forward in the Paris’s TGI… Going to Court and giving up! that tells a lot doesn’t it?
        I like JT but I do not care about who will be elected any of them will be better than Mosley (enough with tht brits everywhere: Ecclestone, Mosley ;) I’m joking…) but I find this violence against Jean Todt unbearable in the end.

  59. Harveyeight says:

    The FIA has not so much lost patience as lost face it would appear. They have backed down over Ari’s fairness challenge.

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