The result of the FIA presidential election is as predictable as the result of the 2005 United States Grand Prix as David Ward withdraws.
In a letter sent today to the FIA clubs Ward explained that "it has not proved possible for me to secure the required number of regional Vice Presidents for Sport to ensure the eligibility of my list. I, therefore, would like to offer my congratulations to Jean Todt who will secure a second term uncontested if not unopposed".
In his letter (pdf) Ward notes that "For many years the FIA has struggled with governance reform. All too often it takes one step forward and then two steps back. This is clear from the current election which is being run on a shorter presidential list than the 2009 but which is offset by a new requirement for 26 nominating clubs. The 2009 eligibility threshold was 23 but has now risen to 37 which is the highest ever in the history of the FIA".
"The need to obtain seven Vice Presidents for Sport has given control over whether or not there can be a contested election at all to the FIA's sport regions. Moreover the use of support agreements in advance of the election makes it very hard for any candidate to obtain the required Vice Presidents for their list. In the FIA's North American region eleven out of the twelve clubs signed an agreement to support Jean Todt in March. This left only one club available to provide a Vice President for my list. Clubs from the region that are sympathetic to my candidacy would have to break their previous pledge of support. It is understandable that they have been reluctant to do so."
Welcoming statute amendments that some FIA clubs have submitted to the General Assembly, Ward comments that "if passed the eligibility requirement for future FIA elections would be just seven. This would encourage multiple candidates to stand and restore fairness to the FIA election system".
Ward adds that "my candidacy in the 2013 election has not been motivated by a burning ambition to serve as President of the FIA. My clear preference would be for a club President to be elected to that role, supported by the appointment of a new Chief Executive. That is why I have described myself as a reluctant candidate. What I have tried to do is to encourage debate about the flaws that exist in the FIA's governance system. I am satisfied that I have succeeded in that".