Posted on November 14, 2013
XPB.cc

David Ward has officially withdrawn from the race to become President of the FIA. The deadline for entering a candidate list with a full team of deputies is tomorrow, November 15. It now looks as though Todt will be re-elected unopposed on December 6th in Paris.

Ward had challenged Todt on a ticket of governance reform and financial transparency and he has lobbed plenty of handgrenades in Todt’s direction in the last two months, calling into question his probity in office, his lack of financial openness and even referring him to the FIA’s Ethics Committee over letters of support gained in South America months before the election was called.


Ward always argued that the high barrier for entry, with an extensive list required of deputies and vice preseidents, meant that the playing field was unfairly slanted towards the incumbent and contrasted it with the recent IOC elections where a number of candidates stood and a debate about the future direction of the IOC took place.

Predictably, Ward has cited the impossibility of getting enough vice presidents together from each region – because Todt has already signed them up – as the reason for withdrawal.

The real story is the decision by Middle East powerbroker Mohammed Bin Sulayem to side with Todt. If there was to be anyone who could challenge Todt this time around it was Bin Sulayem and Ward was seen by some as a stalking horse candidate for the Emirati. But once Bin Sulayem decided not to stand, a lot of the energy went out of Ward’s candidacy.

His candidacy has shone a torch into some areas of the FIA and caused some minor embarrassment for Todt, but ultimately the fact that he was so closely involved in the previous Mosley regime, which was not a beacon of transparency, undermined the credibility of some of his arguments in the eyes of many FIA voters.

In his statement Ward said, “I am writing to confirm my withdrawal as a candidate in the 2013 FIA Presidential election. It has not proved possible for me to secure the required number of regional Vice Presidents for Sport to ensure the eligibility of my list. I, therefore, would like to offer my congratulations to Jean Todt who will secure a second term uncontested if not unopposed.

“As I explained when I launched my candidacy in September, my reason for standing has been to promote transparency, accountability and democracy in the FIA. For many years the FIA has struggled with governance reform. All too often it takes one step forward and then two steps back. This is clear from the current election which is being run on a shorter presidential list than the 2009 but which is offset by a new requirement for 26 nominating clubs.

“The 2009 eligibility threshold was 23 but has now risen to 37 which is the highest ever in the history of the FIA.”

Ward’s next move is likely to be into a global road safety NCAP programme which sits outside of the FIA.

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Ward withdraws from FIA presidential election. Deadline for candidates Friday
16 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Random 79
        Date: November 14th, 2013 @ 1:39 pm 

    What a shock, I think I may have to sit down…

    So Todt will be “re-elected” “uncontested”. The whole point of an election is that is a contest where each candidate has the same chance of winning (at least in theory), but with the system that’s in place that seems to be all but impossible.

    What we have in effect here is a dictatorship; even when Todt decides to retire it will be the candidate that Todt nominates that will have the support or Todt’s supporters and so take over from him…unless of course we have another big scandal which is highly unlikely in this business ;)

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    That’s supposed to be “have the support of Todt’s supporters”

    My editor is so fired.

    [Reply]

    Matt H Reply:

    Great comment and even better reply. Haha I lol’d at the reply. It’s a shame that this situation occurred and frankly makes the whole ‘election’ situation a farce. At least run and even if u get beat then it doesn’t look as bad in terms of fairness. But what do I know?

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Cheers :)

    Normally you’d be right in saying at least try to run, but the whole problem is that the current system makes it virtually impossible for anyone else to qualify and run in the first place.

    If the FIA were an actual government it would be criticised beyond belief.

    Tim Reply:

    13 comments on this article, and 227 on who Lotus have chosen to replace Kimi!
    That, sadly, is the reason Todt and his chums can get away with running the FIA as they do.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    True, but I imagine there would be well in excess of 227 comments on who replaced Todt if Todt and the FIA didn’t make it all but impossible for anyone to replace him in the first place.

    Tim Reply:

    That’s exactly my point. The people in power have made it very difficult/almost impossible for someone to challenge them (with the conditions for vice presidents etc). Yet, on the surface it all looks fine and dandy and nice and democratic. Meanwhile, fans of F1 barely notice/care what’s going on and bicker over whether a reserve driver should have been given a chance to race – which, at the end of the day, matters not a jot.


  2.   2. Posted By: Jock Ulah
        Date: November 14th, 2013 @ 2:23 pm 

    Uh..Oh…
    Business as usual…
    Democracy crawls away, weeping…

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: franed
        Date: November 14th, 2013 @ 2:40 pm 

    A soviet style election!

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Mon Pen
        Date: November 14th, 2013 @ 2:41 pm 

    What a stitch up. Great to see F1′s governance going as farcical as football. Lets see a race in the Antarctic in Winter.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Dmitry
        Date: November 14th, 2013 @ 4:33 pm 

    Ermm… what was that? Ward who?…
    What did he wanted to achieve? He played dirty right from the start, what did he anticipate? That everyone will rush to support him?

    You know, David, playing honestly pays off, playing dirty always ends dirty… why I am telling this, you know it yourself.

    I am not a fan of Jean Todt, but I am sure his next term will be good for FIA and F1.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Youngslinger
        Date: November 14th, 2013 @ 4:34 pm 

    Rather Todt than someone who has already brought the worst side of UK Political spitefulness back into motor sport. (Previously Mad Max whose vendettas were legend)

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: All revved-up
        Date: November 14th, 2013 @ 6:07 pm 

    Sad to think that the FIA is run by politicians jetting about garnering votes, each looking after themselves and those who vote for them, while F1 teams (hardworking mechanics and team members) are struggling to make ends meet.

    Ward by withdrawing did nothing other than make the point that there is no transparency, and no one other than the privileged few can even field a candidate.

    Enough time wasted thinking about these sad small time politicians. Let’s get back to F1!

    [Reply]

    Youngslinger Reply:

    The F.I.A. is not just about F1, which is sometimes forgotten. There really are other formulas, honest!!!!

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Janis
        Date: November 14th, 2013 @ 6:08 pm 

    Classic Todt.
    No big fuss, no showboating, no shouting or calling names. But things just happen :)

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Paul Kirk
        Date: November 14th, 2013 @ 11:30 pm 

    I’m pleased Ward stepped down.
    Over the past few weeks he came accross to me as a bit of a s–t stirer, and I certainly wasn’t impressed by his manner and personallity!
    Todt’s the man for the job, he goes about his business quietly and efficiently and doesn’t “step on peoples’ toes”.
    We certainly don’t want some loud-mouthed crittical w–k-r on the job!
    PK.

    [Reply]

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