As the tit-for-tat election battle intensifies, outgoing FIA President Max Mosley responds to the criticism levelled at him by potential successor Ari Vatanen that he has been 'the first to violate the principle of neutrality' in the contentious process – by conversely accusing the Finn of making 'wild and irresponsible claims'…
Meanwhile, the governing body has asked both candidates 'to avoid negative campaigning and prejudicial leaks to the media', going on to champion 'transparency' and urge that 'candidates should focus on the positive aspects and opportunities of the upcoming election and its effect on motoring and motorsport'.
The letter from Mosley to Vatanen reads as follows:
Thank you for your letter of 14 October, 2009.
I am surprised you seek to criticise me for supporting the other candidate. You joined me for lunch on 3 July, 2009 and repeatedly asked me to support you. You will recall I told you then I would support Jean Todt, as I thought him the better candidate. This was not a reflection on you, merely recognition that, in my view, Jean has relevant knowledge and experience while you do not.
I know of no provision of French or any other law which prevents an outgoing office holder [from] offering his personal view on who is most qualified to be his successor. Equally, everyone involved with or interested in the FIA is entitled to a personal view and to express that view. The essence of a free and fair election is that the merits of the different candidates are debated. It is not a violation of any legal principle for anyone to think that you are a less qualified candidate than your opponent for the role in question.
The resources of the FIA itself, however, should not, have not and will not be deployed for either candidate. In this connection, you have already made wild and irresponsible claims. In July, you were reported as having said to 422race.com
: “At the expense of the FIA Foundation…Jean, in the role of representative presumptive of the FIA, flies by private jet along with his fiancée to…Asia, Canada, Buenos Aires etc etc…he's conducting an electoral campaign which is being completely backed and paid for by the FIA.”
In truth, when Jean travelled, it was with his partner Michelle Yeoh who has been the Foundation's Global Road Safety Ambassador for the last two years. No private jets were involved. Nor was the FIA. As a trustee of the Foundation with access to all relevant information, you must have known what you were saying was untrue. Yet you have never corrected any of this or apologised for making claims that were entirely false.
Your letter mentions that you may have evidence of some wrongdoing. I would urgently ask you to provide this evidence so that we may investigate immediately. If you know of a specific act on behalf of either candidate which you think conflicts with the law, please give me details together with a precise explanation as to why you think it is illegal. For example, the suggestion that the current Secretary General for Automobile, Mobility and Tourism and the current Deputy President for Sport were 'seen together' hardly seems surprising as both are FIA office holders. With this and your other allegations, it would be very useful to know the substance of what you are alleging so that an opportunity to reply can be afforded to the relevant individuals and so that appropriate action can be taken, if action is merited.
In an election, people take sides. Someone paid all the expenses for a large number of clubs to attend an election rally for you in Jordan. There have been similar efforts on your behalf in other countries. Those involved are on your list. Perhaps you should take advice as to whether such direct financial aid is lawful. I suspect the response will be that it is inappropriate but not illegal.
Finally, you claim my letter to Prince Feisal defamed you. Could you please specify the statement you have in mind and why you think it defamatory?
Lastly, on procedural matters, I am sorry you would not listen to my explanation of the voting procedure when you visited me last Tuesday. However, a written note on this is available from the Secretariat should you or those helping you wish to look at it.