The influential Prince Feisal of Jordan has urged the FIA to embrace this year's presidential election as an opportunity for unity, rather than expose itself to being divided as president Max Mosley has warned.
In the wake of a letter from Mosley which hinted that member clubs that vote for Ari Vatanen could be ostracized by Jean Todt if he wins, Feisal has called for the governing body to take action to ensure that it remains together.
Speaking at an Amman Extraordinary Motoring Conference which has attracted widespread media coverage this week, Prince Feisel expressed concern about the stance adopted by Mosley.
"Now is the time to become one harmonious governing body, not face a future of division and uncertainty due to decisions made during a democratic process," Prince Feisel was quoted as saying by the Jordan Times. "I hope that we can all agree on how this can be addressed to ensure a fair election and to maintain the integrity of the FIA."
Price Feisal's comments about the impending election come in the wake of a letter he received from Mosley, which has been widely leaked to the media.
In the letter, where he said he declined an invitation to speak at the Amman conference, Mosley launched an outspoken attack on Vatanen's credentials – and warned clubs against supporting him.
"It is very unfortunate, but the campaign run by Ari Vatanen has been marked by untruthful claims (such as the false allegation that the FIA provided a private jet to take Jean Todt to Africa) and has now descended to insults such as his recent statements that the FIA is a 'stagnant pool' which stinks and that the entire FIA system is unfair, autocratic and unjust," wrote Mosley in the letter.
He later added: "The more Vatanen criticizes these policies [of the FIA] and the more insulting and untrue his claims, the more he damages the interests of those associated with him. The FIA membership will naturally assume that his supporters fully endorse his statements.
"Any thought that, after the election, everyone can unite and work together can now be forgotten. It is not possible to make outrageous and divisive statements like Vatanen's and then expect the victims of insults and untruths to forget what has been said.
"The simple fact is that Vatanen will lose the election and lose badly, not least because he chose to denigrate the FIA and those currently in office rather than run a constructive and civilized campaign."
Speaking about Mosley's letter, Feisal said: "Jordan has always maintained a strong relationship with the FIA president, so I am deeply disappointed by the content and the insinuations of his letter which have raised serious questions as to the credibility of the upcoming and future elections.
"Jordan was delighted to welcome Max to Jordan for our inaugural World Rally Championship round last year, an event that I am pleased to report will return in 2010," he said.