Ari Vatanen, the former World Rally Champion, has the right credentials to bring reform to the FIA and Formula 1 if he wins the governing body's presidential election, reckons McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
With Vatanen having announced he will stand in October's election, even though he is not sure whether or not current president Max Mosley will put himself forward again, the Finn has been meeting various F1 figures over the German Grand Prix weekend. And although the teams have no vote or influence in choosing who becomes president, Whitmarsh believes that Vatanen could help benefit F1 if he triumphs.
"I don't know Ari particularly, but I think he is clearly fresh and new, and I think refreshing the sport would be quite good," said Whitmarsh. "He was a racing driver, very successful, and a world champion, so I think he understands competition. I think that is fresh.
"He has been a successful politician -- I don't know if that is a plus or a minus but I think inevitably it is a plus because whether we like it or not, none of us were signed up here to get involved in politics but there is a fair amount of politics involved in F1. So if someone is going to be a reformer he has the credential to do that.
"It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming months, but if Max is not standing again and Ari is a candidate I am sure he will get a lot of support as he seems to be a balanced and sensible individual."
Vatanen told the media at the Nurburgring that if Mosley does not stand again, then he expects former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt to put himself forward.