Ward sets out plan to reform “antiquated” FIA

2013 F1 season

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David Ward has set out his plan to reform the FIA as he bids to unseat Jean Todt as president of the motor sport governing body.

Ward has published a 20-point plan to reform an institution which he says “can give the impression of being antiquated and autocratic”

He focuses considerable attention on redefining the role he is campaigning for: “The powers of the Presidency are too wide to be effective or fully accountable,” said Ward.

Ward says Todt has not fully delivered on the changes he promised to make when elected four years ago and “in some areas the trend for reform has been reversed”.

“For example, the maximum possible period in office for the president has been extended from eight years to twelve,” he said. “The threshold for nominations for presidential candidates has been set high which favours the incumbent and deters other candidates.”

“Recently there has also been unfortunate use of ‘support letters’ at various FIA regional meetings which are designed to elicit public commitments of support before the election process even opens, thereby deterring alternative candidates from coming forward. These are of questionable legitimacy.”

Ward also envisages a restructured and more professional FIA, bringing it more in line with modern corporate practice. His plans include appointing a chief executive officer, creating a management board and publishing annual accounts.

The FIA Senate would be converted into a supervisory board to oversee its work. The FIA president would be limited to two terms instead of three and would have the option of serving in a non-executive capacity.

Ward believes his proposals would give the FIA “a governance system that meets global best practices”.

He requires nominations from 26 clubs to confirm his candidacy and has written to all of the FIA’s 236 clubs asking for their support. Ward told the clubs he said he would prefer to see one of their presidents take over as FIA president, and has announced his candidacy in the absence of such a nominee.

“Over the last year I have been approached by a wide range of FIA stakeholders encouraging me to be a candidate,” said Ward in his letter.

“The role of president of the FIA has not been something I have wanted or envisaged for myself. My preferred option is for a club president to serve as president of the FIA.

“Indeed it has been a long time since a club leader has also led the FIA. However, in the absence of another candidate I am interested to stand to promote an agenda of further governance reform.”

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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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13 comments on “Ward sets out plan to reform “antiquated” FIA”

  1. That’s a no-brainer imo, sounds good.

    1. Don’t get too caught up on his promises. Ward’s campaign appears to be based solely on his desire to reform the FIA, but what is his stance on other issues? How does he plan to deal with cost-cutting in Formula 1? How is he going to solve the problems plauging the WRC? How does he plan to implement Gerhard Berger’s recommendations for revitalizing the junior categories? What is his stance on the FIA’s position in the new Concorde Agreement?

      Maybe I’m just being a cynic, but we’re literally in the middle if an election campaign here in Australia – we go to the polls tomorrow. One of the candidates has made a real song and dance about a complete non-issue, and then deliberately waited until the embargo on political ads to release the costs of all his policies, which are questionable at best (despite selling the idea that he’s a good economic manager). So I can’t help wonder what Ward isn’t discussing – reforming the FIA might sound nice, but there are simply too many gaps in his policies at a time when there is a lot going on in the motorsport world and any candidate for the presidency needs to be on top of them.

      But maybe I’m just sick of political advertising that sounds really nice, but ultimately promises absolutely nothing.

  2. He speaks an awful lot of sense.

    He hasn’t got a chance..

  3. When’s Jean Todt gonna get on his soapbox then?
    Maybe he’ll need two soapboxes.

  4. The biggest problem this guy has is that as far as I can tell he has zero experience in or around Motorsport.

    Maybe the reason he wants the FIA president to have the option to take a step back from running the sport is because he has no idea about the sport so would not be able to actually run it?

    I actually hope Jean Todt gets a 2nd term, hes done a good job overall. Everyone focuses on f1 but he’s worked to help the wrc find its feet again & that series is looking stronger for the future now than it was before jean todt took over as fia president.
    the world endurance championship is also looking strong again thanks to him doing agreements with the aco.

  5. petebaldwin (@)
    6th September 2013, 12:57

    Completley pointless. The guy hasn’t got the slightest chance of winning. The FIA are all happy in their jobs and don’t want someone new coming in and making things difficult for them by forcing them through the shake up the organisation so desperately needs.

    You only have to look at football and FIFA to see that it’s exactly the same – a group of mates looking after each other’s best interests.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      6th September 2013, 12:58

      It should be added that I don’t think Todt has done a terrible job and that things are much better under him than they were under Mosely. The whole organisation needs to look at how it does things – it’s not just the leader.

    2. Ward wouldn’t be doing this if he didn’t know he had the support. Todt is apparently rather unpopular in the FIA at the moment, which I’ve heard is at least partly down to his handling of the Bahrain Grand Prix. There’s even talk that Todt might not even bother running for a second term in order to avoid defeat.

  6. If this guy supports a move back to V-10’s or V-12’s he’s got my full support.

  7. And who the heck is David Ward? Resigned president of the FIA foundation? Former advisor to Max Mosley? Double chin and wears glasses — looks like a driver more accustomed to a couch than a bucket-seat. Jean Todt (disclaimer: I’ve met him several times and appreciate him, but I also knew de Beaufort way back, and Balestre more recently) is doing a more than reasonable job. Some continuity in this post-panda-striped era is necessary.

    1. A politician advocating bureaucracy, just what we dont need.

  8. Vattenen had more chance and he didn’t get in. It just shows that when someone who wants to do the job properly fails to get it the sport has become too political. By that I mean too controlled by those with a fiscal interest, like the conservative party of GB.

  9. The plan sounds like it makes sense, but has Todt really done a bad job?

    The real thing that worries me about this guy is that he looks like a functionary who’s acting as a stalking horse for Max Mosely to make a comback, or act as his puppet should he get elected himself. As much good as the whip one did for FIA, this was more than undone by the total and utter politicisation of the F1 sport, which had already been bad under Ballestre. I shudder to think what would happen if he or one of his lackeys were to get back in.

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