FIA President Contender: Ari Vatanen Vital To The Future Of F1?

Mark BatemanCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2009

Nov 1992:  Portrait of Ari Vatanen of Finland during the RAC Rally of Great Britain. \ Mandatory Credit: Anton Want /Allsport

It feels like the arguments over the future of Formula One have been going on for a lifetime.

The past few months have seen threats made, by both the FIA and FOTA, childish name calling by the FIA President Max Mosley, who branded several big names in the sport "Loonies" and now, just when we thought it was resolved, the peace deal agreed is now being called into question.

It is obvious that the current President of the FIA, no matter how much good he has done for F1 in the past, has lost the plot and simply wants to fight anyone who so much as looks at him.

With that in mind, can anyone save the future of F1 and bring order and peace to the FIA?

Stand up former World Rally Champion and Member of the European Parliament, Ari Vatanen.

The 57-year-old has thrown his hat in as a possible successor to the embattled Mosley and is not fazed by the possibility of having to compete with the 69-year-old, should Mosley stand again for office.

There is no doubt he would be the popular choice in the F1 paddock, as Vatanen brings with him the best chance for change to an organisation which has been under the same leadership for many years.

The Finn also has vast experience as a politician and would not find the task of leading an organisation, like the FIA, too daunting.

He is also a former World Rally Champion (1981) and therefore understands everyone’s needs, from those in F1 right down to the millions of everyday motorists.

Vatanen is in favour of a common sense approach to resolving matters and believes that, in the current economic climate, the motor industry cannot afford to have in-house battles involving big egos.

But despite his obvious popularity and unquestionable credentials, he has a long way to go before being sworn into office.

He already has support from around the world, including a Facebook group which backs his campaign for presidency, but would need to increase that to cement his position, should he need to fight Mosley or any other candidate for the top job.

Should Mosley decide not to stand again he is reported to favour former Ferrari Team Principal Jean Todt.

Todt is not universally loved by the F1 paddock and would be inclined to follow a hard-line approach, something that Mosley has become synonymous with.

If the FOTA teams are determined to achieve their goals of increased self governance and technical freedom, then Vatanen would be a vital ally in attaining that.

F1 has been at a crossroads all season, but the appointment of the new FIA President in October will be the biggest one yet, and will go a long way in deciding the future of the sport.