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Todt to face strong challenge from Mosley ally in FIA Presidential election
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Aug 2013   |  11:28 am GMT  |  68 comments

Jean Todt will be opposed in the forthcoming FIA presidential elections by David Ward, who was a key ally of former FIA president Max Mosley.

Ward announced his decision today and has resigned as Secretary General of the FIA Foundation to prepare his campaign.

“After much careful thought I have decided to stand as a candidate in the 2013 FIA Presidential election,” said Ward in a statement. “The election period begins in September and it will be necessary for me to approach FIA members to secure nominations. In these circumstances I think that the correct course of action is to resign.

“Election processes inevitably involve robust and lively debate, and whilst the Foundation is independent and there is no legal requirement for me to resign, I believe that it is in the best interests of the charity that I stand down now.”

Candidates must submit their application together with a list of vice presidents between October 23 and November 13. Ward will already have a good understanding of the support he has from the national federations globally to mount a serious challenge to Todt. The Frenchman has travelled widely during his four years at the helm, visting most outposts of the FIA empire, but Mosley was in the job for almost two decades and retains strong influence, not least in the Middle East which carries a lot of influence.

The prospect of facing such a well backed candidate means that Todt will have to devote significant energy to campaign business in the next couple of months, co-incidentally there is still much to do in terms of F1 related issues like tyre supply, signing a new Concorde Agreement.

Todt has pushed hard on Bernie Ecclestone to get more money and more influence for the FIA. Under Mosely the commercial rights for F1 for 100 years from 2011 were sold for around $360 million in total. Todt has argued that times have changed and the FIA should get a further €20 million a year from Ecclestone’s company. The FIA does not have access to significant funds. Todt has been keen to change that.

At the Hungarian Grand Prix in July Ecclestone and Todt issued a statement saying, “The Formula One Group and the FIA have signed an agreement setting out the framework for implementation of the 2013 Concorde Agreement.

“This agreement will come into force upon approval by the respective governing bodies of the signatory parties in the coming weeks.”

It will be interesting to see whether everything goes on hold now until the elections and, should Ward win, it will be interesting to see whether he pursues a similar agenda to Todt with regard to F1′s commercial rights.

It is also possible that the move may be a powerplay to get Todt to back down on some key negotiating points, with Ward able to withdraw his candidacy at any time between now and the election.


Ward is 56 years old and comes from a political background. He was policy adviser to the one time leader of the UK Labour party John Smith and has played roles in many of the FIA’s mobility initiatives including the current Decade of Action for Road Safety programme in conjunction with the UN.

Further analysis of this unfolding situation will follow.

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68 Comments
  1. Steven L says:

    How grotesquely ominous does the phrase “a key ally of former FIA president Max Mosley” sound ?

    Does this mean we are going to get Mad Max back, by proxy ?

    1. Spyros says:

      I see what you mean, but the indecisiveness in F1 in the last few years has actually made me miss… you know who.

  2. James, any idea on Ward’s stance on environmental issues within motorsports? Could the election affect the gestation of the new FIA Formula E series due this time next year?

    1. James Allen says:

      Very strong on environmental issues

      1. Thanks James. I’ve linked to your article above in a brief post at the Current E site: http://currente.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/green-from-the-top-down-2/

  3. Spyros says:

    AVON-Cooper tyres for F1 next year? :D

    1. Colin Craig says:

      Doubtful! How about Michelin?

      1. Spyros says:

        I was only making a [rather bad] joke, for those who believe that Todt is pushing for Michelin because he’s French, suggesting that this bloke would push for something British…

        Avon are British, aren’t they? If not my joke was even worse than I thought.

      2. iceman says:

        Avon are a historic British brand but American-owned now. I’m not sure if they still manufacture tyres in the UK.

        Not 100% implausible though, as they already make tyres in the right sizes!

      3. Colin Craig says:

        Gosh! You are way ahead of me!Very good!I just could not see Avon being a tire supplier to F1!

  4. D Johnson says:

    FIA needs another Mosely character running F1 like a hole in the head. David Ward might bring his own personality to the role of FIA but the fact that Mosley is backing him smacks of trouble-making, after the division and confrontational style of FIA leadership that Mosley brought to the role.

    I have been impressed with Jean Todt’s FIA leadership, behind the scenes negotiating style compared to the meglamania, limelight loving style of Mosley.

    I hope Todt sees off the challenge from Moseley’s stooge.

    1. Spyros says:

      Nobody would welcome Mosley back, but let’s face it – Mr Todt has so far chaired the most indecisive years of F1, since…

      …actually, nevermind.

      1. JCA says:

        I think that the reason there appears to be indecision, is that someone is actually pushing back against Bernie and FOM. The decisions in the Mosley regime appeared decisive, because they gave Bernie exactly what he wanted, including this ridiculous commercial contract. It only became a problem when Max pushed the teams too far with a budget cap of 15-20% of their existing ones, thus potentially causing massive layoffs.

      2. Spyros says:

        I don’t disagree. However, I absolutely do NOT believe that the tyre issues of this year could have existed if Mosley was still calling the shots.

        He would have forced the teams to nominate one of them to test the tyres for Pirelli’s benefit, if and when it became necessary. They could just draw a ballot or something! But someone would have to force them to do it, and Mr Todt hasn’t risen to the occasion.

      3. Denny says:

        I’m not choosing sides, but cost control is essential for the health of F1. Customer cars? Budget caps? Equality amongst teams will create a better show, allowing the skill of race driving to be determined.

    2. Neil says:

      How can you read this article and come up with “stooge”?

      All it say is that he was an ally. Doesn’t mean he is fronting for Mosley. Doesn’t say Mosely is backing him.

      Neil.

      1. JCA says:

        It says Mosley retains significant influence, particularly in the middle east, as an asset to Ward, it also says that the challenge could be to get Todt to back down in negotiations, and can be withdrawn at any time before the election. Admittedly reading between the lines, I’m getting the impression that the bid is at least backed by Max and Bernie, if not orchestrated by them.

        The chance that the commercial agreement can be renegotiated depends on Bernie being convicted in Germany, and on a strong independent FIA president, and I believe the contract has to be renegotiated to keep more money in the sport, and go to the teams.

    3. mvi says:

      Well Mosely backed Todt against Ari Vatanen when they were both running for the job in 2009. I don’t think anyone is anyone’s stooge here.

  5. Ali Nasser says:

    Hi guys, I know this question is somewhat irrelevant to this article but I’m in need of some useful information regarding the FIA. I’m looking to create a racing series, Where we obviously travel the world and race on iconic circuits. In order to get this motor racing series underway, does it need to registered by the FIA? I don’t want them regulating my racing series in fears they will ruin it for commercial gains and what not. Your help is greatly appreciated.

    1. Quade says:

      If you need to race on FIA approved tracks, then yes.
      Here’s some related info:
      http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110821165426AAtZW8Y

      1. Ali Nasser says:

        Thank you for the link. But generally speaking, can I still be able to make the regulations for my own series without the FIA getting involved?

    2. Dino says:

      I would suggest you can contact your national ASN for help on this subject,they will be more than happy to assist you on this. Also yor regional FIA Zone would be on hand to help you. You can contac me by email privately and I will be happy to help. Ask James Allen for my email address.

      Kind regards,

      Dino

  6. Fellowes says:

    I know nothing about Ward, but I would also say that I know nothing about Todt since he started his FIA presidency. Good or bad, Mosley was always visible to the fans, which I believe is good for motorsport as we have a chance to witness how the sport is being governed and by whom. In my opinion, Todt has been ineffective in this area and therefore missing part of his role – does he ever do interviews or meet with the media at events?…I don’t think so. On this basis, a change would be good.

    1. Joshua says:

      He was talking on pod cast not so long ago. I’ve also seen him on the grid walk.

      I dont mind not seeing him if he’s doing the job. The problem is I don’t really know what he is supposed to be doing? ????? I often here about road safety but other than that I’m in the dark.

      I may be selling him short but he hasn’t got a concord agreement sorted, his office could of prevented the tyre issue by forcing the teams to have a sensible testing arrangement, which we will see next year. Worst of all the way he has treated perelli leaves a poor taste. Fans or not of the tyres, perelli provided what was requested and have little support when it all went belly up. They are now being left dangling over if they are supplying tyres next season, which is disgraceful from todt.

      1. Joshua says:

        Of course I mean he was on a JA on F1 podcast

    2. Arno says:

      Fellowes you missing the point about Todt. his job is not to do interview but to promote the FIA around the world and regulate all the series(F1…). what is good for the sport is racing…not show businesslike approach.
      Ward is a Muppet of Mosley who let s not forget, has more than a questionable morality….
      And Mosley and Ecclestone were hands in hands.
      So to pretend that a change with Ward would be good, either you re biased or you don t understand anything about F1….LOL

  7. djmwr says:

    “Under Mosely the commercial rights for F1 for 100 years from 2011 were sold for around $360 million in total.”

    Every time I read this, I still can’t believe it happened.

    100 year deals? $3.6m per year? I would love to taste some of the wine that was being drunk at that lunch.

    1. SteveH says:

      Yeah, and apply an inflation factor to that $3.6 million…….

      Bernie sure got the sweet end of that deal.

    2. Quade says:

      Me too.

    3. D Johnson says:

      Yes, although the money is presumably paid upfront so the actual income per year will be more than $3.6M on an undiscounted basis. Nevertheless, a number of questions spring to mind about that deal.

    4. Youngslinger says:

      Yes, I want some! However, a contract was signed – even though with most sporting contracts, not worth the paper it was written on. I would prefer the £20M shared with the lower financed teams, not the FIA.

    5. Arno says:

      djmwr, i could not agree more with you, beside
      FIA does not need someone with a political background, specially when his connection to the infamous Mosley is evident…enough said.

    6. Random 79 says:

      Yes, but they drank a bit too much, which is why they’re a bit short now and need the extra 20m a year ;)

    7. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      You have to remember that at the time, the ownership of F1 was in question. By cementing a deal with Bernie, Max was able to quash any doubts. The alternative was to get nothing. Therefore, under the circumstances, it wasn’t quite as bad a deal as people now make it out to be.

  8. olderguysrule says:

    James, with David Ward being a ally of Max, what would he do that’s different that what Jean has been doing? And or what or how would he run things differently as compared to Max? I realize this is an on going news story but keep us informed.

  9. AlexD says:

    I was a big fan of Todt compared to Mosley…and knowing his Ferrari success….I am a bit disappointed on what JT did while being FIA president. Maybe I do not see everything, he is less of a public figure comparing to Mosley (who I absolutely did not like as a person).

    Mosley did a few things right. He really pushed teams towards lower costs and right now we again see teams with huge budgets and teams who are barely managing to put a car to a race. There is a risk of loosing good teams like Sauber and Williams, not just the likes of HRT.

    The whole thing with Pirelli – it is the issue of FIA, not Pirelli.

    Not impressed with JT at all.

    1. I love F1 says:

      As long as the engines don’t get any smaller I will be happy :(

      Although, they have already gone too far as of next year.

      1. Get Well Soon Murray says:

        How many seconds are the cars off the record pace of 2004 at the moment?

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        2013 spec cars are actually faster around Monaco (and probably would have been around Melbourne too had it not been wet), comparable around Hungary and a touch slower around China and Montreal.
        So not very far off at all (2004 doesn’t even have the record lap on several circuits; 2010 and 2011 share that title, although 2004 still retains most of the official lap records set in race conditions).

      3. monsterFG says:

        Spinodontosaurus,just to let in on a secret. Lap record is counted as one set during the race hence its name, even though they sometime come close in practice and qualy it is noowhere near in race trim. Not sure how you confuse the lap record with something else, also its a shame that they are of the pace of the cars from nearly 10 years. it goes to show how much they went backwards and even more stupid listening to commentators saying “he is absolutely flying” what a joke…

  10. BH says:

    I can’t believe having a Mosley mole would be good for F1. Keep Mosley away!! Hopefully this doesn’t happen. Todd seems to be doing a good job.

  11. Mike J says:

    You lost me when it stated…” He comes from a political background’.
    We need less of politics, more of practical background with a solid knowledge of the sport in general with a sound financial brain. Someone who can stand up and take all parties into consideration and make a decision without being led by others…..hey, wait on, that’s Bernie!

    Forget my comment !

    1. I love F1 says:

      Less politics can only be good. Seriously.

  12. Quade says:

    Mosley?

    –Shudders–

    Any devil is better than a clone or ally of Max Mosley. If anyone thinks Pirelli is the worst that could have happened to F1, let them rethink.
    Please, not again. To avert catastrophic levels of evil, we should all be fanatically rooting for Jean Todt.

    1. Tim says:

      To avert catastrophic levels of evil…
      Brilliant line :-)

    2. Tim L says:

      Competition is good ….in anything !!

  13. David Cooper says:

    Agree with Quade that we don’t want a clone or ally of Mosley. But what has Todt really achieved with his low public profile?

    Hopefully there’ll more yest more candidates fighting the election.

  14. Jodum5 says:

    Hi James, what are some of the “some key negotiating points” you refer to in the final paragraphs?

    1. Get Well Soon Murray says:

      Erm.. how many zero’s you have at the end of your bank account balance?

  15. Oz Geeza says:

    Let face it,huh,what did Jean Todt done for F1
    since he become a top “Mucho,Mucho man of F1
    a sweet (**** all except to give a go ahead
    to E-formula? that realy amounts “who cares”
    does it gives you goose pimples? I doubt.
    If Jean Todt does not nominate or he loose the
    election it would be the best thing in F1 since
    slice bread.
    Max Mosley to some may have been a ” Dictator ”
    but he was a decssion maker and a mover.

  16. Pete Watson says:

    Interesting article but I had no idea the commercial rights were sold for $360 million for 100 years? That seems insanely cheap? Off topic I know but does anyone know if that offer was open to other bidders or just to Bernie behind closed doors? I’d have thought at that price there would be more than a few billionaires wanting a slice of that future profits!

  17. BurgerF1 says:

    “Jean, there’s this mate of Max’s who’s going to run against you.”

    “Jean?…. Jean?…..”

    “Does anyone know where Jean is?”

  18. shri says:

    James
    Too many teams under severe financial stress.
    What are Todt or Ward position and actions to solve this if you have an idea.
    Small and medium teams need support of FIA to get some progress on this issue.

  19. Dave Clegg says:

    Bring back Ari Vatanen I say!! I sooooo wish he’d got the job last time.

  20. Uppili says:

    I woul suggest not to judge Mr.ward so harshly just yet…after all everyone (including me) thought that Todt would be a proxy to Max Mosley too, given the very public support he enjoyed from Max. There were even rumors that Max was facilitating Todt’s seeking of votes by provided FIA’s charted planes and what not…

    We all now know that Todt was his own man….The fact that Ward resigned prior to election seems to indicate a man of integrity. Lets wait and see how things progress…

  21. Random 79 says:

    Only 13 Comments as I write this, but there doesn’t seem to be too many fans of Todt or the other guy (I’ve forgotten his name already).

    Maybe you should nominate yourself James. We’d vote for you ;)

  22. Kris Grzegorczyk says:

    Not keen to have a Mosley ally on the scene, but JT isn’t really doing the business. The treatment of Pirelli has been shambolic (there has never been a supplier so keen to please the fans and teams – even at th expense of its brand), we don’t see or hear from the guy, all the important deals get signed way too late. What has this guy achieved?

  23. JohnBt says:

    [Ward is 56 years old and comes from a political background.]

    Changes for good or bad? We’ll have to wait and see but an ally of Max…..

  24. aveli says:

    is this not a formality james? i cannot see anyone going against todt and winning. only one man holds the reigns in f1. who did hamilton turn to when he needed a pit pass for roscoe?

  25. Rob Newman says:

    Totd may have done so many things as President, but he is not ‘visible’. People really don’t know who he is and what he is doing.

  26. Warren G says:

    A lot of comments here seem to equate FIA solely with F1, which isn’t the case at all. Maybe it’s because Moseley was so vocal and visible in F1 that we expect that of the FIA president now.

    It’s unfair to judge Todt purely on the decisions that affect F1, and with the FIA being a reasonably low-key organisation in itself it’ll be up to the individual to do some digging around to discover whether his tenure has been any good or not.

    From an F1 point of view, I think he could have done more. No Concorde agreement, no contracted tire supplier for 2014 & rising costs to the point that midfield teams are in serious financial trouble do not reflect well on him. Which is I find highly unusual, given that he was such an effective team manager before and during F1. He seemed to be the kind of guy to get things done.

  27. K says:

    If you hadn’t mentioned it I would not have known Todt is president of anything. What has he exactly done except walk back and forth on the grid before a race with a very depressing look on his face and treating journalists that want to ask questions like they are robbers?

    Thanks Todt for cheese tyres, DRS, KERS and next season Opel Manta engines. You did the sport so much good….. not that this Bill Bates lookalike will do any better.

  28. cwa says:

    First, the fia have really nothing to say or do about team finances, Mosley was overstepping there, the teams have to make there own money, and negotiate with fom for more purse, the fia is supposed to be concerned with sanctioning events as formula one world championship events and enforcing the regs, not writing them. Tbat being said, let’s not forget that under the Bernie Max regime, f1 grew to be what it is, only at the end did max dabble outside his pervue, using his power to strong arm beyond his station. Frankly I would like to see someone that would admin the fia within its circle, and stay out of the business end, just my two cents worth

  29. audifan says:

    this guy campaigned for todt at the last election ; does that make him a todt clone ? let’s hope not !

  30. Thompson says:

    Presidential elections….. :-/

    Change is good if only so not to see what happened at the end of the Moseley raign happen again with Todt, when Moseley truly believed he was king over all he surveyed.

    Moseley on the F1 show a few weeks ago looks like his anger has not diminished with time – can see him plotting his return….lol

    That Moseley was crazy.

  31. Youngslinger says:

    Now Moseley has put the blame for ALL of F1′s ills squarely on the shoulders of Todt. Hell hath no fury like an ex-president scorned!

  32. Russell Ward says:

    It’s about time all these old ego maniacs called it quits and let some young switched on business people take over and it with no fear or favor or baggage.

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