If you were looking for political mudslinging beyond the current American Political Machine in Washington, then the FIA presidential campaign might be your kind of topic. The incumbent, Jean Todt, has just received a frontal assault by challenger, David Ward.
Things are beginning to heat up over at the FIA as the BBC’s Andrew Benson reveals this week. According to Ward, he has serious concerns over the leadership of the FIA and told the BBC:
“The reasons I’m running is I can see failures going on in terms of governance that I think are quite serious.”
One of the key points Ward makes in his interview is that the Bahrain Grand Prix should never have happened in 2012. In fact, Ward says he would put together an investigation to determine if Bahrain should even host a Grand Prix.
“If it looks like the situation is deteriorating or not improving, what there should be – because this could happen tomorrow in another part of the world – is a standard process to handle this, that is immune from suggestions that one place is being treated differently from another,” Ward said.
While the FIA currently boasts 183 members who will vote on the presidential election, Formula 1 is the main revenue generator for the organization. Ward believes the FIA is “amateur, antiquated and rather archaic” and suggests that a chief executive officer should be appointed to deal with F1 each and every day.
The FIA oversees a lot of initiatives on and off the track and while all motor sport series are important, F1 has its own issues that can and do potentially impact the overall health of the FIA if not managed properly.
The recent announcement of the FIA’s control of sole-supplier tender processes in Formula 1 is also an interesting move. I was sent link to an article by Joe Saward recently and he makes a very good point about the tender process. Tires are one thing but will the FIA seek to find a sole supplier for fuel under the message of product control and consistency?
The Fuels are currently controlled and measured but a sole-supplier contract would mean money for the FIA and you can see where this may get wonky. As Joe points out, and I’m paraphrasing here, it could leave several folks with serious concerns. The FIA’s recent signature on the Concorde AGreement is also reaping financial rewards and Ward says it is important to know where that new revenue will be spent.
The Bahrain Grand Prix is ripe with its own political implications and surely Ward knows this. He’s chosen the Bahrain Grand Prix as the political vehicle, which is already charged and galvanizing, as the bludgeoning weapon of his political message. He states in the interview that Todt is guilty of “poor decision-making” and it will be interesting to see how this negative campaigning will play out with the 183 voting members.