There was plenty of manoeuvring and politicising ahead of next month’s FIA elections to accompany Friday practice running for the Singapore Grand Prix:
Jean Todt flew into Singapore to woo Formula One’s power brokers, including the Formula One teams association, with his vision for a more affordable and competitive motorsport.
It seemed to do the trick as the Frenchman was personally endorsed by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone who said: “I have known Jean for many years. He is a most reliable, gifted and trustworthy person. He is determined and dedicated to whatever goals he sets himself and I admire and respect him greatly for everything he has achieved.
“The FIA needs a president that is strong, capable and with experience at the highest levels of motorsport. Jean is by far the most knowledgeable and capable candidate for this vitally important role. I hope everybody will support his candidacy.”
The Bahrain Motor Federation also stepped in with their support for Todt.
BMF president Sheikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa said: “Our priorities in identifying a preferred candidate to support in the FIA’s October Presidential elections, were to ensure that candidate had a clear vision for the sustainable development of motor sport, including at grass roots level, a deep understanding of the global public policy agenda for motor users and manufacturers alike, as well as a defined programme for advancing the structures of the FIA and a firm commitment to reflecting the role that individual regions had to play in the FIA’s development.
“Jean Todt and his team, we believe, most fully demonstrate these values and vision, as well as a wealth of accompanying experience. I am pleased to announce that, as a result, the Bahrain Motor Federation will be supporting Jean Todt’s candidacy.”
Todt’s presidental rival Ari Vatanen meanwhile unveilled the members that will support his campaign as potential vice-presidents for motorsport:
HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein (Jordan), Antonis Michaelides (Cyprus), John Naylor (Ireland), Arie Ruitenbeek (Holland), Kari O. Sohlberg (Finland), Mumtaz Tachincioglu (Turkey) and Jack Wavamunno (Uganda).
Vatanen said: “Some of them represent countries that are very well-established in international motor sport, but others come from emerging nations. I think it is absolutely essential to have these reformist people, considering it is change we are seeking at the elections.