Vatanen wants a new era for the FIA

Ari Vatanen says he would usher in a new era of cooperation with Formula 1 teams to secure the sport's future if he wins the FIA presidential election later this year

Vatanen wants a new era for the FIA

The former world rally champion, who announced on Friday that he is to stand for the presidency of the governing body later this year, thinks it is time for the FIA to start working better with teams in a bid to keep the sport together.

"It is true that in the past two years we have been much more in a battleground than the common ground," said Vatanen during a visit to the Nurburgring paddock.

"I would say very simply [my aim is] to reconciliate, and the result is to be unified. It is as simple as that. We must not complicate things unnecessarily. It cannot be the state where personal ego trips, or the wins in power battles for glory or whatever, determines the future of our sport.

"The parallel F1 circuit [breakaway championship] is for real, and if that did materialise that would be the end of the FIA as we know it - and everybody would lose including those on the parallel circuit. So it is the 11th hour to start applying commonsense, and maybe a bit of humility and forgiveness would not be bad either."

He added: "Manufacturers, it says they can come and go which is true, but they only come and go if we as a regulator do not give them a sensible working environment. They are responsible for running their business correctly, and if it cannot be done in the sport - they will use the marketing money somewhere else.

"If the daily life within our sport is nothing but battles, as it has been recently, they have better things to do. So we must make sure that they stay in the sport."

Vatanen held talks with team boss Frank Williams before qualifying at the German GP, and is likely to meet other team figures to discuss his plans for the future over the weekend.

He revealed on Saturday that he already has support from a number of FIA member clubs - including the influential American Automobile Association.

And he was unclear about if current president Max Mosley or former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt would stand against him.

"If Max Mosley is standing then as far as I understand there is no place for Jean Todt to stand. If Max Mosley doesn't stand then maybe Jean will throw his hat in the ring - but that remains to be seen. But I know where I am trying to go, and that is what I am interested in. I don't look left and right."

Vatanen also said that the first thing he would do if he is made president would be to change the voting procedure - and remove the 'cabinet' systems that forces presidential candidates to put forward a 22-man team of officials.

"Of course that system has been made to protect the incumbent president, and if I got there one day, then that would be the first thing I would change - so people could get rid of me easier than what is possible now.

"But I am not too worried about it - because once the movement for change, for a new start, for a new deal for the FIA family starts then people will come on board."

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Q & A with Ari Vatanen

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