Mike Stevens | Oct 15, 2009

THE CAMPAIGN OF FIA Presidential Candidate Jean Todt has received a boost after seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher issued a letter confirming his support for the Frenchman.

With the vote fast approaching, Schumacher has launched a staunch defence of the former Ferrari F1 boss, rubbishing suggestions Todt would simply maintain the status quo.

“I know that there are some people who say that Jean's presidency would be a continuation of Max (Mosley’s) leadership," he wrote to FIA member associations.

“I can only tell these people that they do not know Jean. He has his own expert knowledge, his own agenda and his own leadership style. From my experience he will implement his plans for the FIA in his own way, as a team player.”

While Ari Vatanen has promoted his candidacy as an agent for change, Schumacher believes Todt is also capable of reforming the FIA.

Schumacher said: “Since I stopped driving in Formula 1, I have followed the sport very closely and have read a lot of stories which have done our sport much harm.

“Having worked for the FIA and FIA Foundation on many projects for more than a decade, I may also claim that I am very familiar with the FIA.

“This is why I deeply feel it is time for some changes, but these changes must be managed carefully by someone as skilful as Jean who has formed the right team of people to on the one hand appreciate the great achievements of the FIA and on the other hand really make change happen.”

Meanwhile, Vatanen has told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport he believes he can muster the number of votes necessary to gain leadership of the FIA.

Vatanen claims his campaign to bring more diplomacy and transparency has resonated with the voting clubs, and will ultimately result in victory over Todt.

“Me and my team believe that we have more than half of the votes. We are giving people hope and they are grasping it,” he said.

“The majority of clubs feel the need for a new FIA, more democratic, which takes care of everyone’s problems. Todt is tied to people who’ve been in power for many years like Mosley and Ecclestone, they don’t represent the future. I’m the only one who represents change.

“The FIA president should serve everyone, not just the people who have vested interests. This is what people are calling for and that’s what they’ll get if they elect me. Todt has the support of Ecclestone: but don’t you think Bernie has personal interests in the business of F1.”

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