Todt versus Ward
David Ward, candidate, is setting out his stall for the forthcoming FIA presidential election.
Jean Todt has been almost invisible during his tenure and Ward's observations of the workings of the FIA over the past four years imply not only invisibility but also neglect.
Top of the list of issues that Ward will tackle if elected is the running sore that is the Bahrain GP. This may just be a very handy ace in the hole since things are brewing in the Middle East kingdom with more injustices taking place on a daily basis. If he is elected, he wants an investigation into whether Bahrain should actually have a Grand Prix. However, the Bahrain card may also be a dodgy one since our old mate Bernie, who likes Bahrain, might have a word in the shell-like of the members of the FIA's “electoral college”.
Interestingly, as we learn more about David Ward, we find that he is an old pal of Mighty Max and wrote Todt's election manifesto last time round – Todt was Mighty Max's favoured pick for his successor. Perhaps, though he has come to regret being in the Todt camp. In true political contender style he accuses Todt of "poor decision-making" with the controversial reinstatement of the Bahrain F1 race being just one example.
Ward wants standard "appropriate processes in place” to assess and judge the suitability of locations to host GP's. He says that would “minimise the reputational damage you can get from poor decision-making on the hoof", referring to the ad-hoc way in which a previous investigative visit to Bahrain, the report and subsequent decisions had been made. He describes the FIA as "amateur, antiquated and rather archaic" and says it needs fundamental reform because it is "not fit for purpose".
In another campaign pledge that may irk Ecclestone, Ward wants to toughen up provisions in the FIA sporting regulations with regard to bribery and corruption. He wants the sporting code to ensure it "would be clear about the requirements we would have in terms of partners". That would bring such folk's as Mighty Max and Ecclestone into the purview of the “bringing the sport into disrepute” clauses. Just think what fascinating ?-gates might be lurking around awaiting a decent piece of investigative journalism.
Then there is how the new Concorde Agreement – apparently now signed by the teams – was handled. The FIA's World Council apparently “agreed” it in a poll via FAX machine as opposed to having had a discussion in a full council meeting followed by a formal vote. Understandably, then, he wants "robust decision-making processes with separation of powers between executive and legislative and judicial".
As in the Mosley days it seems that the President is still the executive authority at the top of the FIA power pyramid. The so-called independent "International Tribunal", recently tested for the first time by the Tyre-Test-gate affair, appeared to be an attempt to moderate that authority. However, the fact is that it is still the president who decides what incidents or events are referred to the tribunal, so the position is still open to a dictatorial approach. Similarly, it is wide open to corruption, mishandling and/or failure of the one individual on the presidential throne.
Talking of hoary old chestnuts (well recent chestnut) like tyres for F1. Yup, that's what I said, tyres! Ward points out that there was no tender process for finding and selecting a tyre supplier for F1 in 2014. Remember those rumours of interest from Michelin or Bridgestone? It seems that they were not officially invited to apply! F1 regulations should apparently stipulate that the contract to supply tyres should be via a formal tendering process. The FIA may be in contravention of European Commission competition legislation and Ward wants to sort that out as well.
So, where are we? Oh, yes, the election I believe is this month so who do we want to win the FIA hot seat?
Hmm, should this be a CTA poll?