Fur starts to fly in FIA presidential election

The FIA’s presidential election is starting to get warmed up as David Ward, the challenger, offered his manifesto and Jean Todt is emerging from his curtain to speak with the media—something he has avoided for the last four years.

AUTOSPORT ahs a nice article up to day, as well as election coverage stories, that discusses the issue but perhaps more interestingly, it uncovers former president Max Mosley’s potential role in the election as well as suggests that it could be a three-candidate election with former Renault COO Carlos Tavares potentially throwing his hat in the ring.

I highly recommend reading Mr. Rencken’s story here to get some detail behind the election and how the FIA works.

David Ward has offered some concerns he has that Todt has already been campaigning and using FIA resources to do so:

“It is vital that the FIA election processes are conducted in a fair, democratic and transparent manner.

“I believe that demanding signature of support agreements in these circumstances represents a serious violation of the FIA’s rules, regulations and ethical code.

“The complaint will enable the Ethics Committee to investigate the legitimacy of these agreements, the circumstances in which signatures were demanded, and whether it is an appropriate use of the FIA’s resources for its staff and management to pursue Mr Todt’s personal re-election ambitions at official FIA regional meetings.”

Todt, as you can imagine, has a different story and says that the clubs are flocking to his side because they like what he’s done. Presumably the ASN’s (as the FIA calls their member clubs) have approved of the support Todt has given them with roles in the FIA. Todt rebuked:

“How can I avoid it if you have a group of people who say ‘you do a very good job, we want you’?” Todt told the press, including AUTOSPORT.

“For quite a long time I have got support, but I am not claiming I get it every day, from people who incidentally were completely against me when I was up for election.

“I never put the knife or the gun to somebody saying it [to support me].”

One issue I think AUTOSPORT really does a great job of unpacking is the political make-up of the FIA’s voting community. One of the major key points is that Formula 1 is governed by the FIA and is the highest profile sport in its stable of motorsport oversight. However, it is not the biggest player is swaying votes. That is down to the ASN’s and clubs that circle the globe and respond well to FIA financial and political support for their local initiatives.

If F1 generates a large portion of the FIA’s operating revenue, it is hard to understand how it doesn’t carry more weigh in the election process. Mosely always focused primarily on F1 when he was president but Todt has not. He’s chosen to focus on the international clubs and mobility issues as well as green initiatives. Things that draw votes and support, not headlines.

The mud-slinging has begun and one wonders how much Max Mosley may be involved in Ward’s campaign. According to Todt, Mosely has assured him that he is not but AUTOSPORT feels differently on the matter.

Also consider that the World Rally and World Endurance series area also governed by the FIA and this election has ramifications for them as well. It is hard to imagine that mobility campaigns, local motoring clubs in Indonesia and a few stewarding roles handed out are the keys to a president to lead WRC, WEC and Formula 1 but that’s how the FIA is arranged.

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