BBC Sport formula1


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 12:42 UK

F1 infighting must end - Vatanen

Ari Vatanen
Vatanen says he represents a different proposition to rival candidate Jean Todt

By Andrew Benson

Ari Vatanen insists he can end Formula 1's political battles with a new era of greater democracy if he is elected head of governing body the FIA next month.

The Finn will stand against ex-Ferrari boss Jean Todt on 23 October in the race to succeed president Max Mosley.

"F1 must stop being a battleground for various parties that don't have an equal position," he told BBC Sport.

"We must have stable surroundings and clear visibility. We can only do that by working together."

F1 has experienced a series of damaging political rows in recent years, with 2009 particularly turbulent after eight of the 10 teams threatened to create a breakaway series after Mosley persevered with plans to introduce a budget cap.

Jean Todt and I represent different worlds

Ari Vatanen

The prospect of a split was averted after a last-ditch compromise agreement between the FIA and the Formula 1 Teams' Association (Fota).

But ill-feeling and suspicion remain and the F1 teams are concerned that the election of Todt, who Mosley has publicly backed as his successor, would effectively mean a continuation of the Mosley years.

Vatanen, a former world rally champion, said he would be determined to oversee a more inclusive, non-confrontational climate.

"The FIA and other family members of F1 must sit down around a table and do them [any future rule changes] together because we all are stakeholders, we all have an interest," he stated.

"Often the FIA can have the upper hand anyway and the others have to be on the receiving end. OK, that's good for an ego trip and in the short term, power over somebody else and a personal victory but it's to the detriment of the sport.

"So we propose, I and my team, just normal business practices in F1. We must remember the teams and the contractors, the smaller teams and the bigger teams, private or less private. Whoever is investing in F1 is not there for fun."

Todt developed a reputation as a divisive figure during his 15 years at Ferrari and Vatanen insists that a change is needed.

"I refuse to say why I am better but we represent different worlds," he added.

"All I am saying is that I represent the new start for the FIA where all the members of this incredibly colourful global family have a feeling that they are being heard and, hopefully at times, be inspired by their president.

"To be the president of the FIA is so different to running a rally team, where you can handpick your people.

"Now you become the adopted father of the global family, where you have all different backgrounds and races and beliefs and so forth. This incredible family can only be strong if you unite them, if you can be a diplomat, if you can conciliate."

Outlining his vision for the future direction of the F1 rules, Vatanen - who denied reports that he was a global warming sceptic - said he believed promotion of safety and environmentally friendly technology must be at the forefront.

"It is clear, since F1 gets so much visibility, it must be used as promotion for safety," he commented.

"There is no substitute for the work we do in saving human lives, it is completely on a different level.

"Technology serves everything, any domain, so we promote the new technology - whether it is reducing consumption and the so-called greener technologies, maybe nano-technology - F1 is the window that draws people's attention."

Vatanen has also pledged to do all he can to keep Silverstone on the Formula 1 calendar.

BBC Sport's Peter Scrivener

The venue, which hosted the first championship F1 race in 1950 and attracted a capacity crowd of 120,000 in June this year, is set to be replaced as the British Grand Prix venue by Donington Park from 2010.

There has been talk of the Northamptonshire circuit being reinstated under the European Grand Prix name.

"I am not against Donington but I am for Silverstone," said Vatanen.

"We can have a short-term gain but a long-term cost and Silverstone is the symbol of that."

Print Sponsor

see also
Todt to stand for FIA presidency
16 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
I will quit presidency - Mosley
15 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Time for change at FIA - Vatanen
11 Jul 09 |  Formula 1

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

FROM OTHER SPORT SITES Vatanen wants to protect Euro races - 2 hrs ago
Abu Dhabi National Vatanen pledges new start - 21 hrs ago
ESPN Star Vatanen wants to work with Ecclestone - 33 hrs ago
Reuters Africa Vatanen defends traditional F1 venues - 34 hrs ago
Times Online FIA summons Renault to answer crash claims - 42 hrs ago