David Ward Promises Investigation Into Bahrain GP If Elected FIA President
The controversial Bahrain F1 Grand Prix "faces an investigation if the FIA appoints a new leader," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. David Ward, who is campaigning to take over from Jean Todt as president of motor racing’s ruling body, "criticised his rival’s 'poor decision-making' for sending F1 into the strife-torn kingdom last year despite street protests and a huge crackdown by police and the military." Todt "gave the Bahrain Grand Prix his blessing despite warnings that it would be a public relations disaster for the sport, particularly when the government ran the race under the banner of 'UniF1ed,' a blatantly political message that flew in the face of the FIA’s statutes." Ward "had sympathy with Todt but was clear that the FIA and F1 'crossed the line' by allowing the Bahrain authorities to politicise the grand prix." The race was canceled in '11 "because of riots that resulted in dozens of deaths and mass arrests but was reinstated after Todt commissioned a report from the head of the Spanish motorsport federation." This report "came to be regarded as flimsy evidence that all was well in the kingdom" (LONDON TIMES, 9/30). The BBC's Andrew Benson reported Ward and Todt "are the only candidates to have declared so far" for the Dec. 6 FIA election (BBC, 9/30).