Today has seen the publication of Ari Vatanen’s FIA presidential manifesto and also a further document on proposed changes to the FIA statutes from his rival for the role, Jean Todt. Both men talk of teamwork, change and transparency. Vatanen goes one stage further and talks of ‘honesty’.
The pair worked together at Peugeot in the 1980s, most notably in the Paris Dakar rally, where Todt famously flipped a coin to decide which of his two drivers, Vatanen or Jacky Ickx would win the event. Now they are squaring up for a battle and they are starting to get proactive.
The two men both talk about possible changes to the voting system for electing presidents in the future with regard to the controversial lists system, whereby a candidate has to have a cabinet in order to run for office, “which is believed by some to weight in favour of an incumbent,” according to Todt. It certainly is. Max Mosley told us at the start of the year that he introduced that statute as a kind of early warning device to alert him to any threats to his office. Because any candidate would have to sound out potential cabinet members, the president would soon get to hear about it.
Todt is pressing Vatanen on the subject of how much influence the individual nations’ member clubs should have. He says that Vatanen wants clubs from big nations like Germany and the USA, to have more voting power. Vatanen denies this.
This will clearly be a key battleground in the forthcoming election.
Vatanen signs off his brief manifesto document with an Obama-esque call to arms, “Our cause is noble. Together we can.”
Todt’s document concerns changes to the FIA statutes, but one area I’ve not seen discussed yet is the issue of the financial reward for the job of FIA president. Under Max Mosley the job has offered no salary to the incumbent, it is a voluntary position. Both Vatanen and Todt are both wealthy men, but one wonders whether they will seek recompense for their work, once elected.