LONDON (Reuters) - International Automobile Federation president Jean Todt will have a rival if he stands for re-election this year, with FIA veteran David Ward announcing on Thursday his candidacy to run motorsport’s world governing body.
Ward said in a statement that he was resigning as director general of the FIA foundation, after 12 years in the position, and throwing his hat into the ring.
Frenchman Todt, 67, has yet to confirm publicly that he is standing for re-election although all the signs point to him doing so.
“After much careful thought I have decided to stand as a candidate in the 2013 FIA Presidential election,” said the 56-year-old Briton.
“The election period begins in September and it will be necessary for me to approach FIA members to secure nominations. In these circumstances I think that the correct course of action is to resign.”
Founded in 1904, the FIA groups more than 230 national motoring and sporting organisations in more than 135 countries and oversees Formula One as well as the world rallying, endurance and touring car championships.
Ward, who was a key adviser to former FIA president Max Mosley, has led the Foundation since it was set up in 2001 as an independent charitable body with a focus on road safety and the environment.
He was also a policy advisor to the late British Labour Party leader John Smith, who died in 1994, and was then director general of the FIA’s European Bureau in Brussels.
Todt, Ferrari team principal when Michael Schumacher was at his most dominant in the early years of the century, was elected president of the Paris-based organisation in 2009 after comfortably beating Finland’s former world rally champion Ari Vatanen in the vote.
He has made road safety a priority, travelling the world to promote FIA initiatives, and has maintained a low-key presence at Formula One races.
The sport is still waiting for a new ‘Concorde Agreement’, the confidential document underpinning the commercial side of Formula One, to be signed after the old one expired at the end of last year.
Formula One tyre suppliers Pirelli are also still waiting for the FIA to sign a new contract for 2014, when the sport undergoes the biggest change in decades with the introduction of a new V6 power unit with energy recovery systems.
Candidates must submit election lists between October 23 and Nov 13 with the vote at the FIA general assembly meeting in Paris in December.
Editing by Ed Osmond