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Vatanen to go for FIA presidency

Ari Vatanen and Max Mosley
Vatanen could stand for election as FIA president against Mosley

Former world rally champion Ari Vatanen has confirmed that he will stand for election as president of Formula 1's governing body the FIA.

"Responding to requests from many FIA member clubs, I shall stand for the presidential elections of the FIA in October this year," said a statement.

"I think the time has come for a change," said the 57-year-old Finn.

Vatanen could oppose current FIA president Max Mosley if the Englishman seeks re-election for a fifth time.

"My main focus is to reconcile views within the FIA and bring transparency to its stakeholders. The duty of the President is to defend a billion automobilists and also this great sport of ours." continued Vatanen.

The Finn, who currently lives in France has a background in European Union politics and a particular interest in road and traffic safety as well as transportation logistics and mobility.

Mosley, 69, said last month he would not seek a fifth four-year term of office as FIA president when his current terms expires in October.

It came as part of a peace deal struck with Formula 1 teams - but Mosley says he is now under pressure to stay on.

Vatanen floated the idea of going for the presidency last month and has spent the time since consulting the FIA member clubs.

"I am already seeing positive feedback", he said in June, "I would go for it, even if I was not sure of winning."

Vatenen won the World Rally Championship in 1981 and the Dakar Rally four times, and insists he has a good relationship with Mosley.

Mosley's future appeared to have been resolved last month, when he and the Formula 1 Teams Association (Fota) - an umbrella group for eight F1 teams including Ferrari, McLaren and Renault - struck a peace deal following months of wrangling over the sport's future.

ANDREW BENSON BLOG

It came after Fota threatened to pull out of F1 over Mosley's plans to introduce budgetary and technical restrictions in 2010 as part of his bid to welcome new teams into the sport.

Part of the agreement was that Mosley would step down when his current term of office expired in October - and Mosley has publicly stated that this is his desired outcome.

However, Mosley has since accused the Fota teams of "dancing on his grave" and suggested he was under pressure from members of the Paris-based FIA to re-stand, despite that agreement.

"I am under pressure now from all over the world to stand for re-election," said Mosley. "I do genuinely want to stop, but if there is going to be a big conflict with the car industry, for example with the Fota teams, then I won't stop."

That has prompted Vatanen, a member of the European Parliament for 10 years, to declare his candidacy.

Other potential candidates for the FIA position could include former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt, with the Frenchman widely seen as Mosley's preferrred successor should he step down.



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see also
Mosley warning over F1 peace deal
26 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Teams call for neutral F1 chief
25 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
F1 deal ends threat of breakaway
24 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Ecclestone vows to act in F1 feud
22 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Mosley confident of F1 resolution
21 Jun 09 |  Formula 1


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