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Todt versus Dennis set for FIA battle?

When, nay if, Max Mosley finally steps down as FIA president, two prominent Formula One figures could be set to renew an old rivalry if rumours regarding their candidacy are to be believed.

Jean Todt and Ron Dennis regularly crossed swords during their time at the head of Ferrari and McLaren respectively and, as neither is currently involved in overseeing an F1 powerhouse, could be thrust back into the limelight when the search for Mosley's successor begins. Both have been touted as potential future presidents - even when running their teams - and Mosley's supposed departure in October could prove how accurate those beliefs were.

The Automobile Club de Monaco's Michel Boeri has moved in to take charge of relations between the governing body and those in F1 following last Wednesday's FIA-FOTA meeting but, despite the teams' organisation claiming otherwise, is not set to take over from Mosley

Of the two, Todt is probably more likely to succeed the 69-year old, who is expected to stand down as part of the deal agreed to keep F1 intact and not riven by a threatened breakaway championship. The Frenchman is currently working with the governing body as president of eSafetyAware, a non-profit organisation promoting the use of safety technology, and is thought to have Mosley's vote should one be required.

Installing the former rally co-driver, however, is not expected to find favour with the F1 teams, who are likely to cite his previous Ferrari links and the supposed support of Mosley as two reasons to oppose him, even though his eventual split with the Scuderia is not understood to have been on necessarily friendly terms.

Dennis, however, has gained in support, at least from those not directly involved with the top flight, particularly since standing down as McLaren team principal in April. While the Woking team has lost a little of its 'perfect' lustre following the espionage scandal of 2007 and the lying affair following this year's Australian Grand Prix, Dennis' popularity appears to have risen, especially among those who feel that he was forced to sacrifice himself under the FIA's apparently relentless persecution.

However, the former mechanic-turned-team owner has already claimed that, while ha may have the necessary skills and experience to fill the president's shoes, his close ties to McLaren are unlikely to allow complete impartiality in the role.

Of course, all of this is pure conjecture, not least because Mosley is once again threatening to stand for re-election as the FIA-FOTA feud rumbles on, claiming that he has been receiving calls to stand again. Although he insists that he wants to stand down, the 69-year old does not want to be seen to have been forced out of office, or apparently leave the sport helpless in the face of perceived threats from the major motor manufacturers or FOTA itself. Until that battle resolves itself, there may not be one to find a replacement.



Related Pictures

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Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 27-29th, March, 2009
Jean Todt (FRA) Ferrari Sporting Director, Turkish F1, Istanbul Park, 24th-26th August, 2007
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Taz - Unregistered

June 29, 2009 3:39 PM

I needs to be someone outside F1. Ari Vatanan is the perfect candidate, he has the political skills, he's approachable and well liked and respected....all the things Mosley isn't. Todt or Dennis, you couldn't have either.

Alan D - Unregistered

June 29, 2009 5:22 PM

The head of the FIA, whoever it is, shouldn't be trying to run F1. F1 is just one series run under the FIA umbrella and it is ridiculous that the head of the FIA thinks it is his job to make the rules and issue press releases about F1 every week. The best thing a new FIA president could do is divorce themselves from F1 and create a proper f1 governance body made up of several former participants like RD, JT, JYS etc.



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