Ward confirms he will oppose Todt in FIA election

2013 F1 season

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David Ward has confirmed he will contest current FIA president Jean Todt in the forthcoming elections.

Ward made the announcement after resigning as FIA Foundation Director General.

“After much careful thought I have decided to stand as a candidate in the 2013 FIA presidential election,” said Ward. “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.”

Ward has a strong background in road safety and environmental issues related to motoring. He was the director general of the FIA Foundation which promotes road safety and sustainable transport.

He spent more than a decade on the board of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) and is now trustee and secretary general of the Global New Car Assessment Programme.

Ward has also been heavily involved in the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, an initiative which has been strongly promoted by the FIA.

Earlier in his career Ward was a policy adviser to Labour party leader John Smith until the latter’s death in 1994.

He became involved with the FIA two years later as an advisor to then-president Max Mosley. Since losing the presidency to Todt in 2009 Mosley has continued to work with Ward via his chairmanship of Global NCAP.

Todt has generally kept a low profile in his role as FIA president, with a few exceptions. His handling of the persistent controversies surrounding the Bahrain Grand Prix attracted criticism, particularly in 2011 when the FIA made repeated efforts to ensure the race would go ahead despite the political turmoil in the country at the time.

Todt is also yet to conclude a commercial deal with F1 rights holder Bernie Ecclestone, although “an agreement setting out the framework for implementation” of a deal was announced last month.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “Ward confirms he will oppose Todt in FIA election”

  1. In case anyone would like to know what he sounds like, here’s a short video interview with him.

  2. Looks like a candidate with a far bigger focus on the automotive/transport interests of the FIA than interest in meddling with the F1 business. He will have the same need for F1 to fund the FIA in doing things though.

    Will be interesting to see if Todt wants to go ahead and we will see a competition for FIA leadership (which he seems likely to lose)

    1. @bascb – Everyone believed the same thing about Jean Todt, thinking his background in the Make Roads Safe program and his previous relationship with the sport would work in his favour. In the end, it was a case if “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.


      1. ehm, everyone believed that Todt would just be a puppet dancing to the strings of Mosley actually @prisoner-monkeys. Likely everyone including Mosley himself (and Bernie)

    2. While I was reading the tweets form F1 related journalist today, seem that all think that Ward is a very popular candidate and will probably win even if Todt runs for relection.

      I won´t pretend to kno all the politics of F1, I know even less of other motorsport categories involve with FIA, but it seem that Todt have made himself very unpopular.

  3. I bet Todt is quaking in his boots.

  4. What has actually made Jean Todt so unpopular? My impression is that he has always been trying to find compromises on controversial issues and not weaken the FIA in the process, which is a good thing.

    1. @girts, what I don’t like about Todt is that we don’t hear much about him, which gives me a sneaky impression of him, like a politician that wants to do all his dealings behind closed doors. For instance regarding the current issue over the tyre supplier for the next season. If he wants to bring in Michelin, he should have announced some kind of tender ages ago, instead of what he is doing now (which is waiting for Pirelli to despair and walk away?).

      I don’t know anything about Ward, and his interests that seem to be beyond F1, as @bascb points out, which I can’t tell will be good or bad for F1, but right now I’d take any other candidate (maybe Adam Parr should also run ;-) over Todt.

      1. @adrianmorse – One could also argue that if we don’t hear much about Todt, it’s because he doesn’t have the pathological need to meddle in everything that his predecessor did.

    2. Generally people don’t like him because he comes form the Ferrari Family and this upsets “certain” people. I’m not going to trow names but the people I’m metioning will know what I mean.

    3. It seems that Todt’s treatment of Dr Hartstein, the former Medical Director, was very unpopular, especially since Hartstein’s replacement was badly suited to the role (his replacement having very little experience in the world of motorsport or the injuries that could arise in a crash). He was also rather critical of Todt’s treatment of the situation in Bahrain, accusing Todt of intentionally ignoring his legal obligation to advise team staff travelling to Bahrain on the safest course of action and lashing out at those who did try to help or spoke out to the press.

      Added to that, there have been some dissenting voices here and there complaining that some of Todt’s recent appointments to senior positions within the FIA were based on nepotism rather than merit, suggesting that he promoted those who were loyal to him and his position rather than those best qualified for the role. There also appears to be some concern that Todt has cut back the support and funding given over to researching safety initiatives, with some suggesting he has little to no interest in improving driver safety (not just in F1 but throughout all of the series that the FIA is involved in).

      1. It seems that Todt’s treatment of Dr Hartstein, the former Medical Director, was very unpopular, especially since Hartstein’s replacement was badly suited to the role (his replacement having very little experience in the world of motorsport or the injuries that could arise in a crash).

        Jean Todt didn’t replace Gary with someone without Motorsport experience.
        His replacement as medical rescue co-ordinator (The role Gary had held since 2008) was Dr Ian Roberts who has been chief medical officer for Silverstone & worked in that role at the British Gp for many years.

        To be honest I wasn’t surprised when Gary was let go, Only reason he was retained in his role was out of respect for Sid Watkins. Once Sid passed it was inevitable that Gary would be replaced.

        Gary was great in his role but he wasn’t exactly well liked by people in F1 because he always came across as having a very high opinion of himself & rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
        Sid was well liked & respected by pretty much everyone in the paddock so he could get away with things that others could not. Gary tried to be the same way but lacking the ‘well liked & respected’ bit saw him not get away with things that Sid could get away with & Gary failed to understand that.

        1. @gt-racer – I always felt that there was more to the story behind Hartstein’s replacement than what we were told. He launched a scathing attack on the Powers That Be shortly after he was replaced, and came across as quite bitter about it all. That’s not something that simply happens overnight. I can understand being upset over losing his job, but this was something deeper.

  5. That’s great news – and a sign that there is also quite some agitation within the FIA. If you look at Jean Todt’s reign, it’s pretty clear that some things have crashed quite heavily. Most notably, the new concorde agreement is still not resolved and the first signs of hope came only when re-elections came within sight a month ago.

    1. The Concorde hasn’t been delayed because of Todt. After all, the teams don’t have anything in place, either. It’s a bit hard to go from Bernie’s delaying tactics to supposed ineptitude on Todt’s part.

  6. When I see the name “Mosley”, I run away. Mosley has deeply harmed motorsport in general and F1 in particular: this guy was a real plague. So I hope Jean Todt will be reelected.

    1. Help us Todt! ;-)

    2. Apart from his bedroom preferences, I actually quite liked Mosley. He fought for safety and cost cutting in F1 and was much more transparent than Todt.

      He and Bernie might have been very close, but they got stuff done for F1. Todt seems to be at odds with the rest of the FIA and Bernie much like he was at odds with LdM at the end of his Ferrari career. I wouldn’t be surprised if that had more to do with Todt than Luca, Bernie or the FIA..

      1. Mosely was the man behind too many political moves in F1, too many controversies. His way to manage the sport was mafia-style (or maFIA-style :p).
        Few examples (I can’t remember all of them):
        – Canada 1993, when almost all cars were declared illegal.
        – The mass dampers controversy (it WAS legal)
        – The 3 races suspension for Schumacher in 1994.
        – The Michelin “square” tyres
        – The Prost affair at the beginning of 1993, for him to get his superlicence
        – And many other ones…

        Moreover, he made the worst mistake ever with the grooved tyres back in 1998.

        No, that man was a pain in the ass. May he never ever return in F1, he or his ideas.

        (PS: sorry for the bad english, I’m french)
        (PS2: and that’s not the reason why I wish Todt to be reelected ;-) )

        1. Having been in F1 while Max was FIA president I’ve actually got a lot of sympathy for the way Max did things & some of the decisions which were made.

          The reason Max was as dictatorial was he often was, Was because it was the only way to get things done. He was nearly always in the situation where the teams were each fighting for there own needs & refusing to agree with anything that Max wanted to do even if what Max was trying to push through was for the good of the sport.

          Should also be noted that Max wasn’t always responsible for the things he often gets blamed for.
          From the above list, The mass dampers & Michelin tyres were not things which Max himself started, Both controversies began after other competitors lodged a protest. The FIA looked at the protest & ruled accordingly based on the evidence provided.

          The Michelin issue of 2003 was a correct ruling when you know the back story which led upto it.
          It had long been suspected that the Michelin tyres were changing during a race to increase the contact patch beyond what was allowed, The problem was nobody could prove it.
          What changed post Hungary 2003 was that Bridgestone got there hands on photographs which proved beyond any doubt that the contact patch of the Michelin tyres was going beyond legal limits during the race stint. Bridgestone went to Ferrari (And other teams it supplied) with the evidence & they in-turn went to the FIA who looked at the evidence & ruled the tyres illegal, changed tyre testing procedures & issued a clarification.

          A similar situation was the Red Bull Flexi-wing of 2010. People had suspected the wing were flexing for a while but nobody could prove it. Then at the German GP the images came out which showed beyond doubt that the Red Bull front wing was flexing. The FIA altered its wing deflection tests which forced Red Bull to strengthen its front wings.

          The thing ignored about the 2003 Michelins is that according to Michelin & its teams the tyres they took to Monza were faster & more consistent over a race stint (Didn’t suffer the graining phase the prior spec tyres often went through).

      2. It was Mosley who sold F1 to Bernie for $3mill. per year, thus making his mate Bernie one of the wealthiest men in the UK and screwing the teams out of half the revenue they generate.

    3. Bebilou: Please be more specific in the way that (as you wrote) Max Mosely has “deeply harmed motorsport in general and F1 in particular” Some empirical evidence would be welcome. Simply throwing mud and hoping some will stick is a tactic of the gutter press.

      1. I did give examples. Mosley’s dictatorial way of leading the sport is one of them, even if I admit that, sooner or later, someone has to take a decision.
        Mosley was at the origin (or let happened, wich is the same) too many controversies. I also remember stupid declarations from him, like drivers should be randomly put into teams at the beginning of the season. I know it was some kind of a joke, but where is the credibility in that ?
        That’s why I say, and repeat, that he has done a lot of harm to motorsport.

        And by the way, about the Michelin square tyres: at the beginning of that year, Bridgestone had tested similar tyres. It didn’t work, they dropped them. Then, a few months later, they accuse Michelin tyres to be illegal…

  7. Yes that’s great news. Another candidate will give a different perspective on the various issues, not only in F1 but in other racing categories. A election with one candidate is a farcical affair.

  8. I think some people forget the FIA has more to oversee than just F1…

    1. … which is why we need a candidate with a wide range of experience to lead the FIA.

      1. @andae23
        This guy doesn’t seem to have any experience in motorsport though…

        1. @george Reading through the list of things he has done over the years I’d say he’s no slouch. Even if he hasn’t had experience at a competitive motorsports team he has still got ample experience.

      2. @andae23 Sorry but that is not true Todt has been involved in Rallying, Le Mans and F1. I’d say that is the widest a range of experience someone is going to get in the world of motorsport. It’s way more “range” then Max mosley ever had.

        “Under his direction, Peugeot won 4 World Rally Championship titles (drivers and manufacturers), triumphed 4 times in the Paris-Dakar Rally, and were twice victorious in the Le Mans 24 Hours. During his time at Ferrari, the Scuderia won a total 14 Formula One World Championship titles (drivers and manufacturers).”

        1. @force-maikel Leading a competitive team presents a whole different challenge than leading the FIA does. It’s difficult to explain, but in my view leading a team is something completely different from the challenges the FIA chairman is presented with.

          1. @andae23 Yes, but doesn’t mean that person isn’t capable of doing that. At least Todt has been involved in motorsport compared to Ward. Leading a team might be diffrent but as long as you are a capapble leader and have experience in the departement you’re a bout to lead, something Ward absolutly doesn’t have. You’re in contention for the job.

  9. That is interesting. Italian Sky sport F1 commentator Carlo Vanzini just posted this on Twitter:

    Kimi is back

    And then this:

    Buonanotte http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4idYecfl20&feature=youtu.be

    (I hope everything works with the quotes)

    He seems quite certain that Kimi will be in Ferrari next year. He should be a reliable source, but maybe he got carried away a little bit.

    1. Wrong article, I wanted to post this in the round-up. Sorry.

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