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SBD Global/September 23, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Formula 1 Management Faces Big Changes Ahead Of FIA Presidential Election

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Motorsports governing body FIA's presidential election in December will be "contested by two strong candidates with very different agendas," according to James Allen of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Incumbent President Jean Todt knows that "he faces a strong challenge" from Englishman David Ward, a former policy adviser to the late Labour party leader John Smith. In office, Todt "has not behaved the way the powerful pairing had imagined," with the Frenchman challenging F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "robustly on a range of issues such as the introduction of hybrid engines and revenue sharing in the sport." The leading team bosses "backed Todt in a recent press conference, calling for continuity at the top of the FIA." But the teams "have no vote in the election." Only the 183 voting members of motor clubs around the world "have a say." Ward, meanwhile, "has powerful backers in the Middle East and is playing an aggressive game, questioning Todt's probity, accusing him of violating FIA statutes by garnering letters of support while on paid FIA business trips." Ward's platform includes a modernization of the FIA, "including downgrading the role of president to a figurehead" while handing control to a paid CEO. He wants to keep the FIA based in Paris, rather than move it to Geneva, "where Todt plans to build a new headquarters." Todt "has been very active in office in many areas," most notably in road safety with the joint UN/FIA campaign "Decade of Action," which seeks to reduce road deaths worldwide by 5 million in 10 years (FT, 9/20).
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