Ari Vatanen is ready to change motorsport's governing body after claiming that they have spent more time recently "on the battle ground than on common ground". Vatanen was at the Nurburgring yesterday and speaking for the first time since announcing he is to run for the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) presidency. The 1981 World Rally champion, and four-time winner of the Paris-Dakar Rally, made it clear it is "time for a change" following 16 years of rule under Max Mosley.
The 57-year-old believes the FIA have lost respect over the years, in particular of late with the FIA and the Formula One Teams Association (Fota). "It is true that in the last two years we have spent more time on the battle ground than on common ground," he said. "I would say we need to reconcile, and the result of that would be unification. It's as simple that. "We must not complicate things unnecessarily. We must not get to a stage where personal ego trips or victories in a power battle, for glory or whatever, determine the future of our sport.
"Imagine if there was a rival series, that would be the end of the FIA as we know it. Everybody would lose, including those in the other series. "It's now at the 11th hour to apply common sense, and maybe a bit of humility would not be bad either. It is clear something is not right. But I will never throw dirt at Max. I have a very good relationship with him." Vatanen insists it is vital the fans are heard, adding: "You can see the frustration among them. But this is not a time to blame anybody. It's a time to get our house in order for the sake of our noble family."
A new president is due to be elected in October. * PA Sport