Sao Paulo: Campaigning for the most powerful position in world motorsport descended into a slanging match Friday with FIA president Max Mosley and would-be successor Ari Vatanen trading blows in an exchange of letters.
The governing International Automobile Federation published accusatory correspondence between the two men while calling in a statement for an end to negative campaigning ahead of the October 23 election.
In his letter, dated Oct 14 and issued through his lawyers, former world rally champion Vatanen complained that the "principle of neutrality has been flouted constantly by the FIA."
The Finn accused Mosley, who has publicly backed former Ferrari boss Jean Todt to take his place, as being the first to "violate" that principle.
Vatanen also said a strongly worded letter sent by Mosley to Jordan`s Prince Faisal, one of the Finn`s leading supporters, had been defamatory and reserved the right to take legal action.
He also suggested FIA resources had been used on Todt`s behalf.
"I request that you stop and that you ensure that staff members on the payroll of the FIA and organizations which depend financially on the FIA stop these practices which up until now have constituted a violation of the principle of equality among candidates to the presidency of the FIA," he wrote.
Mosley replied the following day with a letter expressing surprise at the criticism but reiterating his support for Todt`s campaign.