David Ward throws hat into ring and takes the fight to Jean Todt

The former adviser to Max Mosley emerges as a strong contender for the FIA presidency

Monza

Practice at Formula One’s ‘cathedral of speed’ might have followed a predictable form, with Sebastian Vettel dominating for Red Bull yesterday, but the paddock was ablaze with speculation after former director-general of the FIA Foundation, David Ward, put himself into the ring as a contender for Jean Todt’s FIA presidency when elections are held in December.

Ward’s manifesto, entitled ‘Agenda for Change’, highlights some of what he perceives to be inadequacies of Todt’s leadership and calls for a score of reforms. Ward, 57, a former adviser to Max Mosley, Todt’s predecessor, also played a key role in Todt’s 2009 succession, but now says he is seeking “further governance reform”.

While acknowledging that there has been “useful progress” with regard to a comprehensive review of the FIA statutes and structure that were proposed in Todt’s 2009 manifesto, Ward claims that it has “fallen short”, and that “there is still work to be done”.

“The FIA can give the impression of being antiquated and autocratic,” he suggests. “The powers of the presidency are too wide to be effective or fully accountable. The maximum possible period in office for the president has been extended from eight years to 12. The threshold for nominations for presidential candidates has been set high, which favours the incumbent and deters other candidates.

“Recently there has also been unfortunate use of ‘ support letters’ at various FIA regional meetings which are designed to elicit public commitments of support before the election process even opens, thereby deterring alternative candidates from coming forward. These are of questionable legitimacy.”

It is unclear yet whether Todt will even stand for another four-year term, and while some suggest there is mounting opposition to that in some circles, several team principals indicated yesterday that they would be happy to see him continue.

McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh took a swipe at Mosley, who so controversially fined the British team $200m in 2007, when he said: “I don’t know David Ward well enough but I would say that Jean Todt has not used the sport for his own ego. I have seen and survived three presidents – one of them only just – but Jean has been consistent and has acted in the  interests of motorsport. For some there’s not been enough excitement and controversy, but for us in the sport that’s beneficial. He has done a good job so far.”

Marussia’s Graeme Lowdon said: “Democracy is a good thing, and with David Ward’s emergence it will be good to have healthy debate. That provides transparency and it’ll be interesting to monitor the process.”

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn, who worked alongside Todt at Ferrari for 10 years in their dominant Michael Schumacher era, added: “Jean has brought stability and consistency, and having another period as president would be important.”

Reacting to suggestions that Todt’s great new vision for 2014 under which dramatically revised technical regulations will jack up the cost of competing in F1 by at least 50 per cent, Red Bull’s Christian Horner said: “We as the teams had the opportunity collectively to say no to the new regulations, and we didn’t, so we only have ourselves to blame on that, not Jean.”

On the track Vettel lost little time in the afternoon, after Lewis Hamilton had been fastest in the morning for Mercedes, in stamping the same authority he demonstrated last time out in Belgium. The world champion was six-tenths of a second faster than team-mate Mark Webber, who had the Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari, the Mercedes of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and the McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez snapping at his heels. Alonso and Hamilton must beat Vettel in the Italian Grand Prix if they are to keep their slim title hopes alive, but on yesterday’s form Vettel looks like a shoo-in for his sixth victory of the season.

Hamilton said: “The car feels pretty good here today. The balance is reasonable and we’ve had a pretty smooth day, better than our recent Fridays, in fact. Although we’re quite competitive, we’re not quick enough yet and will have to work hard tonight to see where we can make some improvements if we want to compete right at the front tomorrow.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London