Former world rally champion Ari Vatanen has confirmed that he will run for the FIA presidency in October. Whether he will run against the incumbent, Max Mosley is unclear at the moment.
After a week of intense negotiations it seems that the Formula One Teams Association is making it a condition of signing the new Concorde Agreement that Mosley stands by his promise at the recent FIA world council meeting to stand down at the end of his term in October. If the teams sign the new Concorde Agreement and a legally binding document to work together to reduce costs to early 1990s levels, Mosley may well step down.
It is thought that Mosley would favour Jean Todt as his successor and Vatanen’s emergence as a candidate is fascinating, as he and Todt go back many years to when the Finn used to drive for Peugeot in rally raids, like the Paris Dakar. The two men are still close, apparently. Vatanen has some political experience, having served as a member of the European parliament.
I think the time has come for a change,” said Vatanen today. “My main focus is to reconcile views within the FIA and bring transparency to its stakeholders.”
Having declared himself, Vatanen must now choose a cabinet of 22 people who would serve with him if elected, This is a mechanism Mosley inserted into the FIA constitution to give him early warning of any potential rival, as they would have to sound out possible running mates and he would get to hear about it.
The question many people in F1 have is, will Vatanen’s candidacy make a Todt run for president more or less likely, or might Todt take up a senior role within a Vatanen administration?