Mike Stevens | Oct 14, 2009

FIA PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL Jean Todt has launched a last ditch attack on fellow candidate Ari Vatanen in a bid to win over voters as the election to select a replacement for Max Mosley nears.

Todt has accused Vatanen of neglecting core policy issues and instead engaging in an unsubstantiated mud-slinging campaign, undermining the leadership of current boss Mosley.

In a letter addressed to FIA member associations, Todt said: “We would appeal to all FIA member clubs to concentrate on the real issues and we hope that the personal attacks and false allegations will stop.

“We will stick to our constructive and positive stance, we place the interest of the FIA at the core of everything we do, and we are grateful for the strong endorsements we have received so far.

“We are confident that a majority of FIA clubs will recognise that our management skills and great professionalism provide the best option to meet the difficult challenges Mobility and Motor Sport face in the future.”

Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone

The former team principal of Ferrari, Todt has garnered support from key senior members of the motorsport fraternity, including F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and Mosley, who has earmarked the Frenchman as his successor.

But it is Todt’s stance as the preferred candidate of the establishment which appears to have worked against him and provided Vatanen with impetus as an agent for change and more transparent governance.

Vatanen has openly questioned the wisdom of the FIA’s decision to charge Ecclestone only $US350 million for the commercial rights of F1 for the next 100 years, while handing McLaren a world record $100 million fine for industrial espionage in 2007.

The Finn told itv-f1.com.com that the two figures suggested there is something grossly wrong with the current machinations of the FIA.

“You have a 100 million dollar fine, and then the global rights for 100 years are worth 350 million - both figures are totally disproportionate,” he said.

“That speaks of how the situation in the FIA is not normal at all, and that's why people always have big question marks when they talk about the future of the FIA.”

Vatanen has gained the support of influential motorsport associations in the Middle-East such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, while his profile is also on the rise in Africa.

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