D-Day for F1 contenders Todt and Ari

FORMER Ferrari team boss Jean Todt and ex-rallying champion Ari Vatanen go head-to-head today in the battle to succeed Max Mosley as the president of world motorsport.<br /><br />The two men are locking horns in the quest for votes in what has become an increasingly bitter election.<br /><br />Indeed, just hours before the votes are counted, Todt stirred the pot further by accusing Vatanen of hypocrisy amid suggestions that both had touted high-profile figures in the sport for support.<br /><br />Much of the concern around the paddock surrounds the policies of Frenchman Todt, who has the backing of out-going chief Mosley and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who he worked so successfully with over the years.<br /><br />The F1 teams are concerned that Todt&rsquo;s presidency would, in effect, be a continuation of the Mosley era, which has become synonymous with political turmoil. Todt, 63, has already guaranteed Mosley a seat on the FIA Senate, if elected, but a spokesman for Todt said: &ldquo;Jean is Jean &ndash; he has his own style. Max and Jean both share a passion for the sport and a passion for the FIA, but Jean has a very distinctive approach.&rdquo;<br /><br />On the other hand, Vatanen, the Finnish World Rally champion in 1981, wants to adopt a new non-confrontational approach in a bid to bring an end to the in-house squabbling. Vatanen was furious at Mosley&rsquo;s public backing of Todt and even began legal proceedings last week to ensure a fair election.<br /><br />That has now been withdrawn, however, and the 57-year-old is putting on a united front. &ldquo;F1 must stop being a battleground for various parties that don&rsquo;t have an equal position,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We must have stable surroundings and a clear visibility. We can only do this by working together.&rdquo;<br /><br />A French court official will oversee today&rsquo;s election with the winner announced after the meeting.<br />