FIA presidential candidate Jean Todt has claimed that his bid will be focused on the twin pillars of 'commitment and professionalism', pointing out that he will not be influenced either by supporter-in-chief Max Mosley or his former ties to Ferrari.
The Frenchman, who appears set for a head-to-head with erstwhile WRC charge Ari Vatanen for the top job in world motorsport, outlined his ideas and principals in a media Q&A that also revealed the areas which he hopes to prioritise should he be elected.
"Throughout my career, as a competitor, manager, team principal and chief executive, I have enjoyed success in an intensely competitive environment," he said of his reasons for standing as a candidate, "I've worked with incredibly talented and dedicated people, teams and organisations with great passion, pride and commitment. Now working closely with my candidacy team, I want to bring all the experience I have gained throughout my career and apply it for the benefit of the FIA and its membership.
"In the last few weeks, I have found it inspirational working with my team, Nick Craw, Brian Gibbons and Graham Stoker. Together we have developed a policy agenda for the FIA which we all think is exciting and offers a new vision of how the FIA should develop in the years ahead. I'm very hopeful that we will be given the chance to implement what we have proposed. It is quite humbling to think that we could be given the opportunity to help shape the future of the FIA in this way."
Among the concerns levelled at Todt's candidacy, along with the backing of Mosley, is his connection to Ferrari, for a long time seen as having a preferential relationship with the governing body. Since the recent FIA-FOTA 'war', however, that suspicion has lessened and Todt is keen to point out that he would not be leaning on his years of success at Maranello.
"Initially, some people suggested that I would be Ferrari's choice for the presidency, then the media was that told that Ferrari didn't want me, and the Scuderia responded by saying that they were, in fact, neutral," he pointed out, "Of course, I completely agree with them. They should
be neutral - as I will be to all the teams if I am elected president.
"This is a question of commitment and professionalism. The success I have enjoyed, with every team that I have ever worked with, has been founded upon professionalism and a total commitment to that team's goals. My approach to the FIA is no different. I would not contemplate running for election as president if I could not focus all my professionalism, energy and commitment upon achieving the goals which are in the best interests of the FIA. Acting as the guardian of the FIA's independence is central to this."
Reacting to the criticism that followed Mosley's endorsement of his bid, Todt insisted that he would not be the outgoing president's puppet, as many of his opponents believe.
"Like everyone in the FIA, Max should be entitled to his opinion," he pointed out, "I'm very honoured by his comments, but Max knows, as I do, that the full membership - and only the full membership - of the FIA will decide who the next president of the FIA will be. Max has made a fantastic contribution during his years as president and, if elected, I will respect his legacy - but I will also bring some crucial changes to the FIA.