Vatanen

The upcoming election is an important one and while I am anxiously attempting to get an interview with Ari Vatanen, I thought I would pen a few words concerning the critical nature of the election for F1 fans and what Mr. Vatanen is placing before the FIA as a mission statement or manifesto.

Why is this election critical? The regulation and legal process for removing a president in the FIA is a bloated and arduous one. Once an incumbent is in office, it is nigh on impossible to remove or defeat him/her should they be doing a very poor job. These rules were created for that specific purpose and I would argue they were created to insulate Max Mosley, current FIA president, from any chance of losing his seat. Even after the sex scandal of 2008, Mosley was Teflon coated and unmovable from his position through crafty vote of confidence rules and real politik.

The incumbent also has the responsibility of directing a host of FIA initiatives including the regulatory and commercial success of Formula 1. Formula 1 is just one of the series represented by the FIA and perhaps their biggest mission is to public safety and motoring. The recent European notion of limiting mobility, trumping public transportation and taxation brought Mr. Vatanen out from his rallying career to seek office and create the Mobility for Prosperity in Europe. The MPE is a crucial project as limiting an individual is not something Mr. Vatanen agreed with. You can see his platform on MPE here.

If you will recall, Mr. Mosley released an FIA press release in which he announced his resignation in October but on that same letterhead he endorsed long-time FIA favorite Jean Todt. The same Jean Todt, then Ferrari boss, who would not sign the agreement to see the ouster of Mr. Mosley post sex scandal that all the teams and Bernie Ecclestone himself was willing to sign. It take simple math to know that Jean Todt has been angling for this job for some time now and has said that he would continue the terrific work that Max Mosley has started. I doubt anyone wants a continuance of Mosely’s antics and many are seeking a change to the FIA method of governance.

How can F1 fans get involved? Below is Mr. Vatanen’s manifesto for the FIA. Read it. If you agree with it; let your local FIA affiliated motoring club know that you want their endorsement to be for Mr. Vatanen. Membership has dues and dues represent cash much needed for these motoring clubs to exist. If fans place pressure with the dollars; the motoring clubs may cease to play politics with Mosley and Todt and start listening to the fans of F1. wouldn’t that be a real change?

I have decided to stand as a candidate for the Presidency of the FIA in our October election. I am writing today to share more information regarding the priorities I will pursue if you give me your trust and honour me with the presidency. Please be assured that I will provide additional details as the campaign unfolds.
[1] Strengthen our public policy effort.
We have over one billion automobilists in our worldwide family. The most prominent exponents of these are 20 Formula 1 drivers racing all over the world. While we represent over 100 million motorists, there are still 900 million car users who are not yet our members and many hundreds of millions to come. There is an enormous potential of growth for our FIA family. One of the most important roles of the governing body is to help member clubs to approach and recruit these people. A clear priority for the FIA President, above all managerial duties, is globally to defend automobilists, mobility itself and our great sport at the highest government level. We are asking that all modes of transport (road transport, railway, shipping and aviation) should be treated equally because this is in the interest of the society as a whole.
The bigger and more united we are – the better we will be heard.

Our efforts on behalf of automobilists are unfortunately very uneven still today. I firmly believe that by working closer with member clubs we can harness the full influence of the FIA to positively affect mobility issues around the world and strengthen the FIA brand.

It is important that the policies advocated by the FIA align with the views of our clubs in the various parts of the world. With this in mind, we shall seek ways to more directly engage clubs in the decisions which are made on the Federation’s public policy. This is particularly important as we tackle issues like road safety, access to mobility, affordable and sustainable energy, environment, and eco-friendly tourism.

In 2005, the EU parliament approved my report “How to halve EU road deaths by 2010: a shared responsibility”. Our most precious challenge at FIA is to continue saving human lives globally.

Also, since the economic prosperity of our nations is highly dependent on the efficient movement of people and goods, we can contribute to improving the wealth of our nations by highlighting the positive role of cars for our prosperity.
[2] Formalize and expand our support of developing clubs.
Our worldwide network comprises both large and small clubs. While many of the larger clubs may be less dependent on the FIA, we should pay special attention to smaller clubs that seek our assistance. I will form a special task force to create a continuous program of supporting activities from the FIA.

The role of FIA Foundation and the use of its sizable funds should be expanded specially to help the member clubs and their projects. It is our duty to help smaller clubs, particularly in the developing world, because improved mobility is one of the key tools in the eradication of poverty. I undertake to visit also the small clubs in various parts of the world.
[3] Improve our operational efficiency (Efficiently, Effectively and Economically).
While While much of the FIA’s revenue comes from sports, the dues and fees we charge clubs are, in some cases, quite burdensome. We will review our activities to ensure that we are conducting our business in a cost effective way and that we have competent managers in all key positions. We will use new ways of communication to support developing clubs and to foster broader participation of all clubs in the affairs of the FIA. As you know, we currently maintain offices in a number of major European cities. We will not diminish our activities in support of clubs, but we will evaluate the need to have as many satellite facilities.
[4] Modernize our governance.
One of the first steps is to appoint a small working group of respected FIA leaders both from Mobility and Motor Sport to review the struc-ture and operations of the FIA. The group will recommend the changes required to ensure the long term viability of the Federation and its clubs. My goal is to give the clubs a much stronger voice in the decisions we make at the FIA.

It is time for us to listen to the clubs.

In particular, we will return to a presidential electoral process without the requirement to provide long lists of candidates. The leadership should stay in power only thanks to the trust of its members. This is the only proposal we have made regarding the electoral procedures. All major organizations are subject to increased scrutiny and therefore we also have to establish a real corporate governance to deal with potential conflicts of interest and to have transparency for the member clubs. The hallmarks of my team are values, honesty and transparency.

‘Yes’ to strong leadership – with democratic means.
[5] Expand our efforts to develop motor sports.
Motor sport is a passionate and pivotal part of our heritage and it continues to give us dreams. I will never forget the gleaming eyes of a small boy in Timbuktu when he watched the passing Paris – Dakar caravan. The FIA has accomplished excellent things over the past few decades, notably in safety. While we redouble our efforts to render F1, rallying and other championships more attractive, we must pay special attention to the countries where the sport is still in its early stages. We need the transparency with which we govern the sport and establish the rules. In or-der to achieve this, we must ensure that the entire justice system of the FIA is above any doubts regarding its independence. To be more effective in our government of the sport, we will actively seek for ways to make the organisational structure leaner and establish a more hands-on approach where possible. For myself, in case the member clubs chose to elect me as the FIA President, I envisage a role of direct and active involvement and a presence in the FIA’s flagship championships wherever necessary and desired.

Moreover, we must continue our efforts to constantly develop new automotive technologies and integrate and promote them through motor sport. This particularly applies to those areas where we can save human lives and contribute to mitigating even further the effect of the automobile on our environment. At the same time, we must recognize the competitors’ need for reasonable stability in our rules. Creating stability means that we have to prepare the forthcoming changes, together with competitors, as far in advance as it is possible.
It is in the interest of our clubs that the competitors prosper and stay in FIA Championships.

The FIA has rightly emphasized opportunities for the competitors and organisers to reduce their costs which we have to continue even stronger. The FIA must remain truthful to its name by holding events on all continents. Last but not least we must be very sensitive to the needs of those who pay for so much of this: the spectators. If normal families cannot afford to come to our events, we are undermining our own future.

Additionally, we need to reaffirm the link between mobility and motor sport. After all, motor sport has been a constant source of technological innovation for the benefit of mobility in general in matters of safety, fuel-efficiency and many other areas. Therefore, it is our aim to actively promote such new developments which will allow us to address new challenges.

Our great sport needs less politics and more passion!
[6] Maintain and improve relationships.
I will seek to maintain and improve the image of the FIA and its key relationships. The first step in this process will be to ensure that, through my own behaviour, I set an example of integrity, openness and respect for alternative viewpoints. I will expect the same of all those who join my team and of the FIA staff. We will reestablish a positive and trustful relationship with clubs that may have felt excluded in the past, as well as with our key partners in motor sport and the media. By fostering collaboration rather than confrontation, we will accomplish far more.

It is time for the FIA to better serve the clubs. The FIA cannot have a life of its own, it has to be the office of services to its owners – the member clubs. In a rapidly changing world we cannot afford to continue with “business as usual”.

I need your help to bring about this much needed change.

Finally, I would like to share with you my thoughts on the election campaign so far. I have the impression that you have been informed wrongly about our intentions concerning the election process and to topics like the environment and CO2. I would like to make it clear that, with the one exception stated above under [4], I have no intention whatsoever to change the electoral procedure currently in force.

Likewise, I can only repeat that I have a strong belief in science and technology. I do see an important role for FIA Sport and Mobility in this field. I consider campaigns like “Make Cars Green” as a valuable contribution. However, the problem to use only current energy sources should be solved in the future by technological innovations and progress – not by restricting personal mobility.

A car is, and will remain, a revolutionarily efficient way of transport which is chosen by almost all citizens from all over the world as soon as the can – despite often excessive taxation – because it gives to an individual, and consequently to society at large, unparallel advantages. If our mode of transport is ignored and treated unfairly the whole automobile family shall suffer, including the sport.

Our cause is noble. Together we can.

With my warm regards,
Ari

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