24.10.09: Jean Todt was elected new President of the International Automobile Federation on October 23.
The new President of the International Automobile Federation will be known on October 23. The only candidates in the running to replace Max Mosely are former Ferrari boss Jean Todt and former world rally champion Ari Vatanen. With just a few days before the election in Paris Euronews spoke to Todt and Vatanen about their candidacy
euronews: You are among the candidates to stand for President of the International Automobile Federation. The voting takes place in a few days. When did you decide to run for President?Todt: I decided to run for President a few months ago, when I left Ferrari at the end of March following 16 intense years with the company, not only with the Formula One part of the business but also as Ferrari’s CEO. I still felt motivated and had an appetite for another adventure. euronews: What needs to be changed in the FIA? Todt: What needs to be changed, what can be changed? You know you have to start by adapting. To adapt to the world in which we currently live. We are at a crossroads. We should not underestimate the problems the world is facing today, problems we should tackle head on. Climate change, energy savings, the economic crisis that we have gone through and that is not yet over. So some serious diffculties to overcome. euronews: We know that a formula one team has a budget from 300 to 400 million euros per year… Todt: Before tax, that’s before tax because fortunately we deduct income, which is higher or lower in relation to the quality and reputation of the team. euronews: Would you introduce a budget cap? Todt: A cap…well in any case we have to make sure Formula One costs decrease, because one day it will be the death of F1. euronews: A few years back you were in charge of a team that included Ari Vatanen, now a rival for the presidency of the FIA. Do you have a few words on your adversary? Todt: Being a candidate for President of the FIA is new for me. I knew him from back in the day I was Peugeot’s rally team principle and also boss of the rally-raid team. Together we had some fantastic times but also some terrible moments. Now he is a candidate for the FIA presidency and being adversaries I hope that it’s my team that win. euronews: Up next is Ari Vatanen, former rally world champion, four-time winner of the Dakar Rally and now an FIA Presidential candidate. Like Todt, he took time out to speak to euronews about his presidential campaign. euronews: Thank you for being with us today. My first question is very simple, what motivated you to throw your hat into the ring, why are you standing for the Presidency? Vatanen: I saw an opening. I also felt a support by certain people who wanted the FIA to become like any other company: democratic, open, honest, where everyone has to be accountable for their actions. There was an opening and we proposed something classic, a kind of mild revolution. How are we going to develop our sport? Well it can’t stay the way it is, which is a closed and locked down system, because at the moment there is no growth in Formula One. We could grow a lot as a sport, but we have to free up the situation. Today there is a lot of doubt, a lot of fear. The current climate is not reassuring, so how can a sport evolve is such a climate? All this is down to a lack of democracy, that’s all. euronews: Your background is principally from the world of rally – you are a world champion, you have won the Dakar Rally. Are you not afraid that all this will go against you when you come up against a cadidate who has the world of Formula One behind him such as Jean Todt? Vatanen: Who said he had the world of Formula One behind him? euronews: Jean Todt has the support of Bernie Ecclestone, of Max Mosley, of former drivers like Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher. Is your rally image going against you? Vatanen: You obviously haven’t asked the people in Formula One if they want a former team boss at the head of the FIA… No, my Rallying past will not get in the way, not at all. It’s not like I have been anti-democratic, as if I was an autocrat… Because being the president of the FIA is not like being the boss of an F1 team where you choose your staff. You are like the adoptive father of a global family, where you should reconcile, unite. You represent the world and can’t be devisive.