Presidential candidate David Ward has written to FIA Clubs around the world, who will vote to elect a president in December, suggesting that the FIA’s election rules could prevent any candidate from being eligible to challenge the incumbent Jean Todt.
Ward has been upset by letters of support already gathered by Todt and his team and has already challenged him for using a trip on FIA business to garner support for the election.
His latest letter, designed to embarrass Todt, claims that because Todt has already got letters of support from 11 of 12 North American clubs in a meeting in Montevideo, there is only one club left to nominate a vice president for sport, which is a condition of the election. Election rules say that a presidential candidate must have 16 candidates for key roles alongside him including 7 Vice Presidents for Sport (Middle ‐ East, Africa, North America, South America and Asia Pacific and two such Vice Presidents from Europe). The election rules certainly make it easier for the incumbent and give him an early warning of how the support is shaping up as the challenger seeks allies from among the FIA clubs.
Ward is looking to disrupt the process and time will tell whether the tactic will be successful in knocking Todt off his stride at this early stage of the election. Early shows of support from the leading F1 team owners in Monza and the successful conclusion of a bilateral agreement with the commercial rights holder have given Todt a strong start to his campaign.
Ward said, “The absurd situation in which just one club in North America may determine whether or not there can be a challenger to Jean Todt risks turning the FIA election into a farce. It shows clearly the detrimental effect that the Montevideo support agreement is having on the 2013 election. If any of the signatories decide to provide a Vice President to a rival candidate they have no alternative but to face the embarrassment of breaking a commitment of support for Jean Todt that they made in his presence at the Montevideo meeting – an agreement which was then subject to a photo-call and a press announcement. This is why I am asking for the support letters to be recognised as a clear breach of the FIA’s rules and revoked in my complaint to the Ethics Committee”.
Ward has also rubbished suggestions that he is a stalking horse candidate for a return by former FIA president Max Mosley, “That is rubbish,” Ward told Autosport this week. “I cannot deny that Max is a friend and I have worked with him on and off for 20 years. I think he did a very good job as FIA president, and I also think he had the most appalling problems to deal with at the end of his term.
“But he has moved in to a completely different period of his life where the work he is doing, taking on Rupert Murdoch and improving privacy legislation, is fantastic. I think his public reputation has been transformed because of this.”