The lingering question on everyone’s must surely be “is Max staying or going”? The FIA/FOTA war reached a stalemate when FIA president Max Mosley announced he may stand for another term based upon his frustration with FOTA’s comments to the press. In a previous statement, following the WMSC meeting in June, the beleaguered president agreed not to seek reelection this October.
The rumors have been rampant amongst the F1 community. Who could oppose Mosley in an election? Names such as Jean Todt have surfaced as a potential replacement but carry perceived biases based upon his past employment with Ferrari. It is also well known that Mosley still carries considerable political power within the FIA member clubs and would be a difficult man to beat in a straight election. But one man has tested the waters and may decide to challenge the venerable Mosley for his presidential seat should he run again in October.
The Guardian newspaper reports that Rally champion Ari Vatanen is the man who may buck conventional wisdom and run for president of the FIA. Vatanen won the world rally championship in 1981 with Prodrive’s David Richards as co-driver. The Finn was a member of the European Parliament from 1999 until this year and has apparently sought the mood among several FIA member clubs.
“At the moment I am consulting the member clubs and am already seeing positive feedback,” said the 57-year-old Finn, a four-times Dakar Rally winner. “I am considering standing. I think the time has come for a change. I would go for it, even if not sure of winning.”
Can Vatanen legitimately make a serious challenge to Mosley’s reign of political hegemony? That may well be a question best put to the member clubs of the FIA but it all may come to very little if Mosley decides to stand down this October. A notion that many fans, teams and sponsors are looking for reaffirmation from Mosley on.
We’ve discussed this at F1B before. While many names within F1 have cropped up such as Jean Todt, Gerhard Berger, Ron Dennis, Peter Sauber et. al. The likelihood that a name not as familiar to F1 pundits might be the right choice. Someone familiar with motor sport but not steeped in former F1 employment biases. A Person who appreciates the challenges faced by teams, tracks, fans and sponsors. A Person who the FIA Members can feel confident about and could enthusiastically endorse. A peron with a history of working on motoring issues around the globe and understand the political process. Is Vatanen that person? Time will tell but what do you think?