Ari Vatanen, the 1981 World Rally Champion and more recently European MP, has finally confirmed rumours and stated that he will run for FIA presidency in October this year. Vatanen had suggested earlier in the week that he may stand if current president Max Mosley decided to run again. However, having been urged by many FIA member clubs, Vatanen has put his name forward as a candidate.
The news will undoubtedly be welcomed by the eight FOTA teams who are currently still trying to sort out a deal with the FIA and commercial rights holders, all the time trying to piece together a breakaway series should a deal not happen. Alluding to this in a short statement, Vatanen said that he felt it was time for a change in the FIA, and for the organisation to become more transparent.
Responding to requests from many FIA member clubs, I shall stand for presidential elections of the FIA in October this year. I think the time has come for a change. My main focus is to reconcile views within the FIA and bring transparency to its stakeholders. The duty of President is to defend a billion automobilists and the great sport of ours. Ari Vatanen.
Vatanen is a former motor sport competitor and since retiring from rallying, the Finnish 57 year old has undertaking many different roles, notably that of a European MP (from 1999 until earlier this year) as well as continuing to make the occasional appearances at various rally events. Vatanen took the 1981 World Rally title with Dave Richards as his co-driver. Richards would go on to start Prodrive and field his own rally cars before attempting to break into Formula One. Ari has also won the Paris-Dakar rally four times.
Vatanen also isn’t afraid of the written word either, and a quick perusal of his website, I found a nice piece titled Colin McRae – Fragile Life, describing the time he received the news that McRae, his son and two other children had perished in a helicopter crash not too far from the champion’s home.
It is difficult for us to admit how small we are in the grand scheme of things. Our illusion of power and control over life is like the morning haze, in that our judgement is often clouded. The great Konsta Pylkkänen (a well known fictive philosopher by Finnish writer Veikko Huovinen) once said “In the celestial scale, the human has the power of an ant.” I couldn’t agree more. Ari Vatanen.
I’m sure I have more to write on this, but for now, I’ll leave it there.