Formula 1 - Berger expects Todt to be re-elected

Austrian Gerhard Berger, former Ferrari driver and long-time ally of FIA president Jean Todt, said on Saturday he expects the Frenchman to win re-election to the top job in world motorsport.

Reuters

Todt has not yet confirmed officially that he will seek another four-year term at the helm of the International Automobile Federation, Formula One's governing body, but Berger has no doubt he will.

"I would be very surprised if Jean does not stay long-term in this role," Berger, who heads the FIA single seat commission, told Reuters at the Italian Grand Prix.

"I would be very surprised if he doesn't (stand) and if he doesn't succeed."

English reporting of comments Berger made in German earlier in the week about the state of Formula One had given the impression the Austrian was critical of Todt, but he said something had been lost in translation.

"I gave my view like usual, I am a Formula One purist. I have a strong opinion about certain things," he said.

"Jean Todt is 25 years a friend of mine and the reason why I do certain things in the FIA. And I support the FIA and Jean, just to clarify this."

The Austrian's determination to put the record straight was a clear indication that the battle lines are being drawn, with Todt - assuming he stands in the December election - facing a strong challenge from former FIA foundation head David Ward.

Ward, a 56-year-old Briton, issued his election manifesto on Friday and wrote to all FIA member clubs seeking the necessary nomination and calling for better governance and limiting the term in office.

Formula One team principals, some of them former colleagues of Todt when he was running the Ferrari team, were predictable in their responses when asked to assess a vote that could have a big impact on the sport.

"Obviously I know Jean very well, having worked together for 10 years," said Mercedes principal Ross Brawn, a former Ferrari technical director.

"I think stability and consistency are very important...I think the opportunity to do another period as a president of the FIA is important, that we have that continuity."

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