FIA presidential candidate David Ward believes that rival Jean Todt may have breached election rules by gaining support from automobile clubs in South America ahead of the agreed campaign period.
Briton Ward, who is seeking to supplant Todt as president for the next four-year term, claims that the Frenchman 'jump started' the election race, in the process breaking rules that determine the fairness of the election. He has since made a formal complaint to the FIA's Ethics Committee regarding 'support letters' that emerged following a series of meetings Todt held in Latin America and Asia.
Detailing his concerns on his official campaign website, Ward insists that 'the use of support letters well in advance of the presidential election period represents a serious breach of the FIA laws, rules and regulations'.
“They should not have happened, and the breach of the rules should be investigated and subject to an appropriate penalty,” he detailed in a letter to Jorge Tomasi, president of the Automobile Club of Uruguay.
Ward also suggested that 'all support letters signed before 6 September now be revoked', a move that may benefit his campaign as, 'by declaring them to be null and void, all the clubs involved would be released from any obligation they feel they may have unwittingly made before the election process had officially begun'
“I strongly believe that the integrity of the FIA election process is of
paramount importance,” Ward continued, “The FIA is the key regulator of motor sport's most prestigious world championships. It has the duty to ensure the fairness of these competitions, to discipline those that break the relevant sporting regulations, and to provide a right of appeal. The same principles should be applied to the FIA's most important internal competition, its own presidential election.
“The FIA must be seen to be trusted as capable of running all its competitions fairly, transparently and according to the rules. If not its entire credibility is put at risk. To use a sporting metaphor the support letters are like an illegal practice or a 'jump start' that has given Jean Todt an unfair advantage in the FIA's election race. They should not have happened, and the breach of the rules should be investigated and subject to an appropriate penalty.”
To read copies of the communications between David Ward and Jorge Tomasi, see here and here