Formula 1 - Ward accused of 'offensive' claims

FIA presidential candidate David Ward has been accused of 'offensive' behaviour in claiming that member clubs were being coerced by Jean Todt to support his re-election.

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As the battle for the top spot of motor racing's governing body continues to heat up, a leading member of the FIA has written to Ward to express his unhappiness at the way it has been suggested that Todt acted wrongly.

Ward plans to complain to the FIA Ethics committee about the way Todt has allegedly used FIA meetings to elicit support letters from clubs.

In a press release issued earlier this month, Ward said: "I believe that demanding signature of support agreements in these circumstances represents a serious violation of the FIA's rules, regulations and ethical code."

Ward's stance has not gone down well with some FIA clubs, though.

Uruguay's Jorge Tomasi Crisci, who is head of the FIA's Region IV clubs from South America has expressed his unhappiness in a letter sent to Ward.

The letter, which has been sent to all FIA members and published on the FIA website, said that Ward's stance had upset Crisci's members.

Referring to a meeting in Montevideo in March 2013 where Todt received the backing, Crisci wrote: "You claim in the press that the club presidents were pressured to sign a support letter for his continuation heading the FIA.

"THIS WAS NOT IN THIS WAY, you have been misinformed, it is offensive for the participants, putting into question either their behaviour or personality."

He added: "In the course of the meeting, we discussed among all the attendees the future wanted for the FIA and we reached the unanimous conclusion of the importance of the continuity of Mr Todt as president of the FIA.

"That is why we agree altogether to give him a letter expressing our support, in the case he presents for a second period.

"There was no external pressure to the regions, nor internal for the decision taken among the first level leading figures of the clubs, both sport and mobility."

Crisci also suggests that Ward's complaints about the use of 'support letters' is in complete contrast to the last election in 2009 when he was supportive of the policy.

"A similar document was given to Jean Todt in the year 2009 in Mexico, known as the 'Agreement of Puebla'," added the letter.

"In that electoral process, where you supported the candidacy of Todt, and according to your words, 'you are proud for [sic] have played a key role for his electoral success'. The mentioned document did not deserve any public objection on your side."

FIA's Region IV is made up of 18 South American clubs. The other regions are Region I in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (120 clubs), Region II from Asia and Oceania (23 clubs) and Region III from North America (8 clubs).

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