David Ward wants to change the FIA – is Federation really in such a bad shape?

Jean Todt will not be running alone in a bid to secure another term as the leader and, it seems, ruler of the motor sports and mobility authority, FIA. Britain’s David Ward, former Director General of FIA Foundation, confirmed his intention to run for the coveted FIA throne. Almost instantly, the website featuring all the details of Ward’s programme emerged, which is encouraging and shows he does take this initiative and candidacy seriously.

Even though Mr. Ward’s “Agenda for Change” does not go into too much detail, it still offers enough information about the changes he deems necessary for FIA to embrace and apply. At first you might think it’s just another politician talking, because all they ever do is ask for change and improvements right until they win the election, at which moment their memory is irreversibly erased. But what David Ward plans and suggests is not just usual political chatter – from the main points of his programme it is obvious that FIA indeed needs change. From changes in the very role of the President to more efficient methods of controlling the costs.

After reading all the proposals, one thing does come to mind. If David Ward is asking for all these changes, does it mean that FIA is currently operating differently. For example, “At a time of austerity aim to reduce overheads, avoid waste, and reduce travel expenditure” is what he suggests, so it probably means FIA is doing just the opposite at the moment? Two other examples, “Avoid duplicating the work of the FIA Foundation and the FIA Institute and concentrate FIA activities on priorities that are beyond these organisations’ mandates” and “Use any overall operating surpluses to fund development grants for clubs in low and middle income countries“.

My personal favourite is “Adopt a policy against bribery and corruption to the latest international standards and amend the Ethics Code accordingly“, again suggesting that no such policy exist at the moment. And of course, the infamous -i’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine- is addressed in this proposal “Ensure that due diligence is carried out on all external contracts to ensure that they are consistent with competition policies and avoid commercial conflicts of interest“.

Once you go through all these proposals, you begin to wonder. Is it possible that FIA is currently run without proper methods of controlling the possible conflict of interests, bribery, corruption? Does it care about controlling the flow of money and redistribution of income to proper initiatives and areas? Is FIA worried that its own projects, such as FIA Institute and FIA Foundation are doing the same things, doubling the expenses and wasting resources? Is Mr. Ward suggesting FIA is, more or less, a millionaire club with plenty of opportunity to score big buck, if you know how to play the game and are friends with just the right guys?

If any of this is true, then perhaps Mr. Ward is fighting a lost battle. Asking for better money control is nice and noble, but will it go down with the voters? Because if money is a big factor here, then these very voters might be very fond of the money. And the covered expenses. And they might not be inclined to give up on it because it would be a noble and righteous thing to do.

More info about David Ward’s “Agenda for Change” on his official website.

Full disclaimer: WRB is not payed nor endorsed by David Ward or the FIA (haha!), and as far as I can tell, that won’t change anytime soon. Not that they care, I know. I’ve been told that I could get far if I pay more attention to what I write and how I write about certain people, but hey, I like my rear intact and pain free, if you know what I mean.