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.
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.