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GP Week : Issue 66
F1's drivers are, predominantly, supportive of Ari Vatanen's candidature for the FOIA Presidency, but have stopped short of issuing a statement declaring their support for the Finn out of apparent fear of its impact with current FIA President Max Mosley and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, -- both of whom have stated their support for Vatanen's rival Jean Todt. GPWeek understands that the matter of the forthcoming FIA Presidential election was discussed during a GPDA meeting on the Friday of the Japanese Grand Prix and that a motion was put forward for the Drivers' Association to make a unified statement in support of Vatanen's bid. However, while GPWeek believes that the majority of drivers agreed that Vatanen would be their preferred option, only a few were willing to make their position public. One current F1 driver, who wished to remain anonymous, told GPWeek that the drivers agreed on the whole that, despite only meeting him for the first time two months ago, Vatanen had impressed upon them a firm belief that he represented a far brighter future for the sport in both political and sporting matters than Todt. The driver in question alleged that while the older members of the GPDA had few qualms about making their feelings known publically, the younger drivers were reluctant to do so both out of a fear of how such an admission might affect them currently and also in the future should Vatanen ultimately lose the election. F1 NEWS >> Drivers support Vatanen ... in private NELSON Piquet's chances of making a return to Formula 1 following the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix scandal have been dealt a blow by a number of leading F1 teams, following comments made by the Brazilian that he wished to return to the sport as soon as possible. Despite glowing comments from Manor founder John Booth, Alex Tai, Virgin's main F1 man and the person thought most likely to become Virgin F1 Team Principal when Manor's name change is announced, distanced Virgin from wishing to have any association whatsoever with Piquet. When asked by GPWeek in the FIA Friday Press Conference if Piquet had a shot at an F1 return in the future, the assembled F1 Team Principals were also adamant that such a situation remained highly unlikely. "I'm not sure I'll be giving him a seat and that's really all I can say," said Renault's Bob Bell. "I think on his performance, to be honest, disregarding the issue, I probably would not give him a drive and I would probably be further influenced in that decision by what took place,"Toyota's John Howett agreed, referencing the recent Singapore GP scandal. It was a sentiment echoed by Red Bull's Christian Horner. "I think John has summed it up. I don't think we would have any interest at Red Bull Racing." Teams talk down Piquet return 7