The FIA ethics committee has dismissed presidential candidate David Ward’s complaint about the way current president Jean Todt has gone about his campaign for re-election to a second term.
Ward was upset by letters of support gathered early by Todt and his team and suggested that the Frenchman had used a trip on FIA business to garner support for the election.
He lodged the complaint last month, with the hearing taking place in Paris last Friday. But the committee said it “did not see any evidence of any kind supporting the allegation that people were coerced into signing the Letters of support for Mr Todt.”
The committee added in its report: “On the contrary, the committee has received numerous letters from individual who attended the relevant meetings, albeit unsolicited, clearly showing that the Letters of support were voluntary.
“Based on the foregoing, the committee finds that nothing in what the committee saw or heard gives any hint that any ethical regulation of the FIA has been breached by Mr Todt or any of the parties implicated.
“The committee has seen no collusion of any kind whatsoever by Mr Todt or by any of the parties implicated to influence the results of the forthcoming presidential election in any unethical way.”
The committee added that the agreements in Montevideo and Bangkok “are not binding” as the election, which takes place on 6 December, will be done by secret ballot.
The report added: “The fact that people have made declarations of support or have publicly nominated Mr Todt is not relevant. When they vote, this will be by secret ballot. They will be absolutely free to depart from any declaration they have given previously.”
In response to the report, Ward issued a statement saying: “I am disappointed that the ethics committee did not accept that the support agreements obtained by Mr Todt are inconsistent with the FIA rules and policies regarding its presidential election.
“I do not agree that I failed to produce any evidence in support of my complaint. I submitted witness statements which showed clearly that there was concern about the support agreements. The committee has powers to investigate but in my case it chose not to use them.
“My purpose in standing has been to highlight the current flaws in the governance of the FIA. I think the current confusion over the election rules which require a change even after the contest has started proves my point.
“It is also regrettable that the Ethics Committee has, in my opinion, failed to address important issues about the fairness and transparency of the election process.”