Mike Stevens | Jul 16, 2009

FIA PRESIDENT MAX Mosley has confirmed he will not be standing for re-election in October and endorsed former Ferrari boss Jean Todt as his successor.

Although Todt is still to confirm his interest in standing for the FIA’s top job, Mosley declared he has faith in the Frenchman’s ability to galvanise motorsport’s governing body following a tumultuous 12 months which culminated in the threat of a breakaway Formula One series.

"I believe the right person to head that team would be Jean Todt. Jean is unquestionably the outstanding motorsport manager of his generation and arguably of any generation,” he wrote to FIA members.

"If he agrees to stand, I think he would be the ideal person to continue but also to extend the work of the past 16 years. He can be relied on in all areas where the FIA is active. I very much hope you will give him your support."

However, should Todt choose to stand for the presidency, he faces a stern challenge from former World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen, who continues to gain support from the F1 paddock after his visit to the German Grand Prix.

McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh believes Vatanen possesses the political nous and understanding of elite motorsport necessary to lead the governing body through an expected reform process.

“I don't know Ari particularly, but I think he is clearly fresh and new, and I think refreshing the sport would be quite good. He was a racing driver, very successful, and a world champion, so I think he understands competition. I think that is fresh,” he said.

"He has been a successful politician - I don't know if that is a plus or a minus but I think inevitably it is a plus because whether we like it or not, none of us were signed up here to get involved in politics but there is a fair amount of politics involved in F1. So if someone is going to be a reformer he has the credential to do that."

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