The election to find a new FIA president is underway in Paris. The two candidates, Jean Todt and Ari Vatanen are going head to head for the right to succeed Max Mosley. Whoever wins will rule over F1, rallying and many other motor sport disciplines.
The vote is being taken by the FIA general assembly, which comprises 221 delegates representing the sporting and mobility clubs from 132 countries around the world.
The candidates had 15 minutes each to spell out their vision for the FIA. But the delegates are already well aware of what each stands for as they have been sent endless policy documents and letters and have been lobbied intensively.
It is a secret ballot and to win the election, one of them needs to get more than 50% or the vote. If that does not happen then there will be a second vote, where a simple majority will suffice.
Vatanen applied to the French courts to have the election overseen to avoid fraud he considered a real possibility, but he dropped that application earlier this week after meetings with Todt and the FIA. The election is being overseen by an independent French legal representative called a huissier de justice.
Who will win? Is it a forgone conclusion that Todt, the continuity candidate, will sweep the board thanks to the support of Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone? Or will Vatatnen lead a revolution, of people who want to see a very different kind of FIA?
Todt said shortly before the election began, “I’m calm and confident about the outcome of the election. We will see what the General Assembly decides. We will respect whatever decision comes out of the urn.”
“I believe I have done an honest job,” Vatanen said yesterday, “I have defended the values of democracy and transparency necessary for governing an important institution like this one. ”
The process is expected to take around four hours and the decision will come through this afternoon.