A spokesperson for the Formula One Teams' Association has rubbished claims that FOTA would rather Ari Vatanen succeed Max Mosley as FIA President that Jean Todt – accusing the media of 'mischief-making' and 'trying to create [another] war' between the top flight's competitors and its governing body.
The scars are only just beginning to heal over from the highly damaging and fractious budget cap dispute between the two parties, with a new commercial rights-dictating Concorde Agreement allegedly ready to be signed, which would guarantee the security of the sport for at least the next three years.
The recent war of words between 1981 World Rally Champion Vatanen and erstwhile Ferrari team principal Todt – together with suggestions that FOTA is backing the former whilst Mosley has lent his support to the latter – is threatening to stir tensions up once again no sooner have they been quelled, but FOTA is insistent that it has all been blown somewhat out of proportion.
“There is quite a lot of mischief-making going on,” a spokesperson for the organisation that represents eight of F1's teams told inthenews.co.uk
. “The media are trying to create a war between 'the FOTA-backed Ari Vatanen' and 'the FIA-backed Jean Todt', if you like, but Mosley is perfectly entitled to back somebody.
“There is this big thing where people are saying that Todt is Mosley's man, but Jean Todt is Jean Todt. His record in motorsport is second-to-none.”
Whilst acknowledging that the Frenchman – dubbed 'Napoléon' within the grand prix paddock – is not the most universally popular figure amongst competitors, the spokesperson added that 'it's absolutely not the case that [FOTA] would question his ability'. It was also explained that the teams' desire for an 'independent' president to be voted in meant simply that they wanted someone with 'no baggage' in the wake of the debilitating political struggles and in-fighting of late.