Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ari Vatanen lays out his stall

FIA Presidential hopeful Ari Vatanen, who confirmed yesterday that he did intend to stand in the race to replace Max Mosley, has been talking to the BBC.

Now, it has to be said, I think my hamster could do a better job of running the FIA than Mosley, so to say that I think Ari is better than Max is hardly a compliment. However, I have to say so far so good.

He's certainly talking the talk of a man who wants to see an invigorated FIA where people work together for the good of sports. He talked about a common sense approach and about having 2 ears and 1 mouth and being more consensual "It's the right time for change. You can't govern in an autocratic manner." He's careful as well, though, not to fawn too much to FOTA, which might also be counterproductive with the electorate.

He was keen to emphasise that he had a wide range of support from clubs across the world - and support of these member clubs will be crucial in the October election.

Jean Todt, ex team principal of Ferrari, has been touted as Max's chosen one which in itself is enough to turn the rest of the world off him. Vatanen will have a tough job to beat him, because it's the FIA, not the rest of the world who's voting, but he's made a good start. The BBC gave him loads of time and EJ was practically drooling at the prospect of him as President.

As an MEP for 10 years, he'll have developed the political skills to create a coalition of support. I've had a brief look at his record which is solid if unspectacular. Sure, he's a centre right figure, but not a loony type, like our Tories have got together with. I want to find more out about why he's been elected for two parties from two different countries - his first term was on the list for the Finnish National Coalition despite the fact that he was living in France, but the second was for Sarkozy's party. He stood on the Finnish list again this time but wasn't elected.

Whether Ari is up against Todt or Mosley, he is a thoroughly credible candidate with his long experience in motorsport. He has the right philosophy for leadership and his first foray into the world of FIA politics over the last couple of days has been promising.

I want to find out more, but it certainly seems like he's got the experience, the personality and the attitude to seriously improve the FIA.

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