Vatanen says “tide is turning” in his favour but fears voter intimidation

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Ari Vatanen is standing against Jean Todt for FIA president
Ari Vatanen is standing against Jean Todt for FIA president

Ari Vatanen feels he is the front runner in the FIA president election race following Max Mosley’s letter urging people to vote for Jean Todt. Vatanen told this site:

It is very sad he has done this. But they know we are leading now. If he knew they were leading he would never write such a letter. This means the tide is turning. This is what happens in an election when you challenge the establishment.
Ari Vatanen

Mosley had previously written to Jordan motor sport chairman Prince Feisal Al Hussein to criticise Vatanen’s campaign:

Any thought that, after the election, everyone can unite and work together can now be forgotten. It is not possible to make statements like Vatanen’s and then expect the victims of insults and untruths to forget what has been said.

Vatanen will lose the election and lose badly, not least because he chose to denigrate the FIA and those currently in office rather than run a constructive and civilised campaign.
Max Mosley

Although he wouldn’t be drawn on exactly how many supporters he has, Vatanen admitted that some of them were those who had backed Mosley in the FIA vote of confidence in June last year.

He agreed that there are concerns over the fair running of the election in three weeks time. Specifically, he wants to ensure the ballot is secret to prevent delegates from being leant on to vote one way or another:

Obviously this is the key question because there is a fear of intimidation. Contrary to what Max Mosley says it cannot be foreseen how they will vote. They follow their heart and conscience.

The French laws are very good in this respect and we are seeking legal advice. It’s important that we know the ballot papers are going to be anonymous. They should not be given out in envelopes with the voters’ names on it.
Ari Vatanen

Vatanen and Todt bumped into each other on the grid at Singapore last weekend, but it looks like Bernie Ecclestone and FIA public relations chief Richard Woods were keen to keep them apart:

Is Mosley’s letter a sign the FIA outsider
Vatanen now has the upper hand? Have your say in the comments.

Ari Vatanen

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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53 comments on “Vatanen says “tide is turning” in his favour but fears voter intimidation”

  1. Hi hope Ari get’s it… Todt would just be another puppet.

    1. After this… go Ari…

  2. The video is a classic.
    You can just see Bernie’s creepy little claw hand pushing Vatanen when he goes past.
    I hope Vatanen can secure a fair election, I think he could win that being the case.
    And if he does win we’ll have a former sucessful racer, fair politician and (being a Finn) generall dude in chare next year.

    C’MON ARI

    1. Bernie looks like he pull Vatanen around and then shoves him towards Todt.

  3. Very interesting reading on Max Moseley and the mechanisms of FIA presidential elections here.

  4. I just can’t see Vatanen winning the vote unfortuately, what is it with Mosely? If you don’t agree with him he acts like a teenager flinging insults.

    He should be stepping back and letting Todt and Vatanen win votes. That would show a bit of professionalism, respect, good grace.. but of course this is Mosely. Why dont you disappear and go enjoy some of your favorite pasttimes?

    I cant wait for F1 without him. Whoever is in charge at least it wont be that man.

  5. who are these people?

    what are they supposed to stand for?

    who the heck gets to vote?

    …hey, I’m ignorant.

    It just seems all a but beyond/above me.

  6. The only thing I like about Mosley is his mesmerizing voice. He’s a great hypnotist. Guess that’s how he has been clinging on to that seat for 20 long years. Other than that, he is total rubbish & I think he must keep his fat mouth shut for the good of formula one.

    Go Ari!!!

    1. Look into my eyes look into my eyes…..

      1. Not around the eyes!!! :)

    2. A bit like his father then? -:(

  7. It is a testament to the debacle that is the FIA nowadays that Vatanen’s main competitive advantage is being an unknown quantity

  8. I hope Ari gets it, I don’t think it is fair having Todt in as he in an ex Ferrari man, I dont think he would be bias towards Ferrari, its just mainly so that people can not turn around and say thats bias or something….if u get me….

    1. Mosley was a co-owner of the March team, it didn’t stop him.

  9. So Todt and Vatanen have previous together don’t they, Paris Dakar and all that, does anyone know what their relationship is actually like?

  10. Mosley must get the public speaking from his father – who like most fascists had very good oratorical skills.

  11. Sorry – that should read ‘like most fascist leaders’.

    Remind me to read my posts more carefully before clicking ‘submit’ next time.

    1. Not just restricted to fascist leaders though, is it? Being able to speak publicly is a prerequisite for being a successful politician.

      1. Dunno… George W Bush didn’t seem to need it… and Gordon Brown’s no Mark Anthony…
        Stalin was never known as a good speaker either. (Whether one adjudges their performance once attaining top office to be successful or not :D)
        I think Nick’s point is famous fascists have generally been famously good orators… it’s a system does rely disproportionately on its capacity to ‘incite’
        Much like the FIA ;p

        1. Yeah if you want to see some sucesful politicians that are poor public speakers, look no further than the US Congress…embarrassing…

        2. Umm, Stalin didn’t need to be a good speaker – not much one for elections, him.

          1. True enough, he didn’t really rely upon his publics support, but it is interesting that perceived “Bad” people when given their soapbox will often at least attract listening ears. Like others, I have little support for anything Mosley has done recently, but during Jake Humphreys BBC interview during the FOTA negotiations I found myself almost transfixed when listening to him speak, it’s enormousley powerful when you think about it!

  12. Is there an F1 fan out there who wants Todt as president?? I challenge thee to step forward….

  13. This a Zimbabwe – style election.

    Ari Vatanen just received the backing of the prestigious South African Federation. You can compare that type of endorsement with the bad company that Todt keeps.
    Todt is a submarine for Ferrari, and a recipient of CVC envelopes full of money.

    GO ARI !!!

  14. I hope Vatanen wins but still think Todt will end up as president. If Todt had any sense he would distance himself from Mosley’s threats, publically at least.

  15. Has there been a vote here as to who we want to win?

    I think ari is everything every true f1 fan wants!

    1. Yep, 77% of 2,500 people voted for Vatanen.

      Jean Todt vs Ari Vatanen (Poll)

      That was right at the start of the campaign, though, we’ll run it again in the run-up to the election.

      1. Thanks Keith, I have a feeling that fans are once again going to experience some displeasure at the sport and wonder about its future.

      2. only 77 percent?! I know that’s a lot but I cant believe that nearly 1 out of 4 would prefer “Yogurt” (from Space Balls)

      3. Thanks Keith

        Don’t run it to close to the election. Internet polls like these can influence decision making in instances like this.
        As who would want to be seen voting against the public opinion?

  16. The only competition Todt is entitled to be in is with Nelson Piquet Sr. for least reasuring – looking man in motorsports.
    An encounter with any of these two, at midnight on a deserted street, would make even the Mummy run away frightened.

  17. Could any true F1 fan stant Todt as President? How could this little toad of a man be impartial? But hey you never know maybe he can buy it just like he bought his wife. Because we all know she loves him for his looks and personality, not his money!

  18. As a Frenchman, I’m ashamed to have him as a compatriot, although Ari Vattanen owes him a lot thanks to Jean’s lucky coin. (look it up if you don’t know what I mean)

    Firstly, I hopes Ari wins, he’s getting a lot of support and in order for him to get the support of 22 members he’s clearly got momentum.

    Max is a forward thinker, he’s really intelligent, shockingly so, such as agreeing to step down from the FIA presidency to stop the autocratic nature of “One Ring to rule them all” nature of the FIA president… now Jean Todt in order to help secure some votes has promised in his Manifesto that the FIA president (himself if voted) will have a much lower profile in terms of jurisdiction on F1 rules and the enforcement thereof. That will be up to the new F1 commissioner.

    I’m not a betting man but I’ll wager 5 internets and a chunky kit kat that he’ll appoint Max as commissioner.

    1. If you didnt say Max as commissioner in your last sentence then I was going to. Would be a bit like Putin & Medvedev in Russia :(

  19. I’d rather eat my own hands than see Jean Todt and his puppeteer ‘Sergeant Spankalot’ win the election.

  20. “It is not possible to make statements like Vatanen’s and then expect the victims of insults and untruths to forget what has been said.”

    Rich coming from a man who has been known to call key figures within motorsport variously half-wits and idiots.

    FIA needs to break away from the existing hegemony to regain the moral right to guide motorsport forwards.

    Good luck Ari.

    1. Rich coming from a man who has been known to call key figures within motorsport variously half-wits and idiots.

      “The loonies” was the exact term, I believe.

      I don’t know what Max means by “statements like Vatanen’s”, these insults and untruths. What exactly is Ari supposed to have said? That thing about Todt using a plane?

      1. It was Sir Jackie Stewart that Max called a “certified half-wit”. The “loonies” comment was made with reference to certain key FOTA figures.

        God knows what he’s on about this time. AV seems to be a standup kind of guy and is a real politician (MEP). Wonder if that is what riles him most, his path into politics having been stymied by his fathers extremism.

        Gotta love this from a press Q&A he gave last month, before the Renault hearing. He kept on refering back to the McLaren fine thus.

        “You’ve got people in the paddock and a lot of the commentators, literally half-witted, saying this is such a serious penalty…The trouble is that we’ve got a collection of people who speak in the paddock without thinking, without understanding, who are very stupid and superficial…It’s a constant source of annoyance to me when they say ‘this outrageous fine’. It’s always the really stupid people who haven’t thought the thing through.”

        So, the very model of a tight lipped patron, guiding the good ship FIA safely over the edge of the world.

  21. The question that’s buggin me is now that Mosley will exit; How do we get rid of Bernie?

    He’s destroying F1 by asking way too much money. This year spa came short a couple of millions. How can that be? The seats were almost filled. It looked like a great success. It shouldn’t be about the money. It should be about the spectators.
    Bernie needs to lower his prices so the circuits make a profit again & the tickets should be cheaper. WAY cheaper.
    He should also stop exporting F1 to every little nook of the planet. We have enough races in rediculous timezones. Most of the teams are european, So are their sonsors.

    1. I think your argument is with Bernie’s employer who own the majority of Formula One Management, CVC Capital Partners. I understand they have huge debts which are being paid off by squeezing the pennies out of race fans who stump up for a ticket, and the poor folks at the circuits trying to put a race together without going bankrupt.

  22. If Todt gains control then we have not seen the end of Mosleys intervention in F1. For the sake of the FIA, F1 and all other FIA sanctioned motorsport the permanent and conclusive retirement of Mosley is what is needed, if Todt gets in then he will still play the puppetmaster.

  23. HounslowBusGarage
    2nd October 2009, 20:37

    When Todt was edged out of Ferrari, I think he took it to heart. He had been one of the architects of their Formula One success and I think it really hurt him badly to be kicked in the nuts as a ‘thank you’ by Luca.
    So maybe, just maybe, his election wouldn’t bring in the `Ferari Rules OK` situation we all fear.
    And of course, the FIA is a lot bigger than just F1. We centre on F1 because of where we are, but the FIA runs more than motorsport and requires certain management techniques and abilities foreign to a Team Principal.
    But for me anyway, the major problem I have with Todt is the fact that he is being lionised, promoted and actively sold by Mosely. This no different to Blair rooting for Brown, Bush rooting for . . . whats’his’name, Wilson rooting for Calaghan. “Vote for him and get another version of me!” And that’s not what I want at all.
    I think it would be a lot more healthy to have an FIA president with no perceptible links to any Formula One interests but who has direct, personal experience of largescale bureacracy and administration, to whit Ari’s experience as an MEP.
    I think it’s time the FIA was run by someone from outside the F1 establishment. It would be healthier that way.

  24. By saying this, Mosley has given the advantage to AV. Nobody like Mosley so it taints Todt.

  25. An FIA press release explains some of the steps that will be taken to ensure a fair election:

    Details of the voting procedures will also be discussed. The two candidates will each be invited to nominate scrutineers to be selected by the General Assembly. The entire procedure will be overseen, as usual, by a huissier de justice (a French state-appointed public witness).

    http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/FIA/2009/Pages/fia_elections1.aspx

  26. I wonder if the voting is anonimous or delegates have to let everyone know who they are and who you vote for ?

  27. oh i wish he would go away
    rather than run a constructive and civilized campaign
    Where does this guy get off?
    Go away dam you, shoo!, shoo!oh yeah, thats showing him

  28. Anyone know who has the Australian vote? I’d like to email them & stress my preference for Vatinen.

  29. Prisoner Monkeys
    3rd October 2009, 0:01

    When is the election, anyway?

    1. When Max says so, and not a second earlier ;)

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        3rd October 2009, 0:57

        Well, I was under the impression it was going to be in October.

        I do, however, find it very significant that he can dictate when the elections are …

  30. Hope that Ari wins it

  31. mosley likes to portray himself as a bastion of morality ,and a just leader treating all equally. Briatore arranged a crash deliberately, got banned for life. schumacher crashed deliberately 3 times and recieved token penalties for 2 of them , nothing for the first. The fact that mosley is not going away completely worries me,JT may well be an unbiased honest broker, but his links to ferrari are very strong. AV on the other hand is a clean page.

  32. I’m all for Ari. Todt is a duplicitous weasel. Todt began a life-long grudge for Fernando Alonso when the Spaniard would not sign a driver development contract with Ferrari when he was younger. When it appeared that Alonso was probably on his way to The Scuderia (in two years) after the McLaren debacle, Todt lengthened the contract of Massa to ensure Ferrari was saddled with two drivers come the period of Alonso’s out clause. This, was just to screw over Fernando. And, a golden hand-shake to a client of Todt’s son. Funny thing is, back then everyone reckoned it would be Massa dumped for Alonso, not Raikkonen. But, time and circumstances have proved other-wise and it is Kimi getting the boot at a reported cost of 25 to 40 million quid (depending whom one reads).

    And Todt wonders why Luca booted him …

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