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GP Week : Issue 189
During the 1992 American presidential elections, Bill Clinton had tee-shirts made for all of the journalists following the governor of Arkansas on what he hoped would be his road to the White House. The press corps travelled by coach, tailing Clinton’s own vehicles, and the convoy was known internally by the sobriquet that would become the slogan on the shirts: Camp Pain 1992. It is an apt description of any campaign, those months spent devising policy, building strategic alliances, and suffering the effects of a life spent in the glare of the media spotlight. The 2013 FIA presidential elections kicked off in style when David Ward resigned as director general of the FIA Foundation and announced his intention to run for the presidency. Jean Todt confirmed his candidacy on Saturday afternoon in Monza, telling the media he had waited for the official campaign period to commence before declaring his candidature. “There is no speculation: I will go for it,” Todt confirmed. “Clearly you have to respect the procedure. Yesterday it was announced that campaigning for the election was opening. All our community knows that I have a lot of support, and we have started something. It is like climbing a mountain. We try to climb up and up, but we are at 3000m. So there is still some way to go.” Months before the election process began, Todt began to receive messages of support from FIA member clubs, not least a statement made earlier this year by the National Sporting Authorities (ASNs) of North, Central, and South America, and the Asia/ Pacific region, who vowed their support for the Frenchman in his re-election campaign. “When the people of North, Central and South America and Asia unanimously advise you to submit your candidacy for the elections, to take a decision to continue the work becomes easier,” Todt said in response to the statement of support issued in July. “Of course, it plays an important role in my thinking. The FIA is a large and complex organization. I believe one of its main trump cards – the quality of working people in there. Of course, we still have much to do, but when you support a team and advised to continue the work on this post, this causes the desire to stay.” While the incumbent has only just declared his intentions, Ward’s campaign began with all guns blazing. On the Thursday evening of the Italian Grand Prix weekend the Briton invited a select group of journalists out for dinner, where he outlined his political platform. On Friday, a 20-point manifesto called the ‘Agenda for Change’ (see sidebar) was released by Ward, a numbered list of the reforms to FIA governance he intends to put into place if victorious. These may be early days, but Ward’s proactivity has been both a boon and a hindrance to his campaign. The meat and potatoes of his manifesto triggered much debate within the paddock, and guaranteed the former head of the FIA Foundation a significant amount of media coverage. But as news began to spread of that intimate Thursday evening dinner Ward found that he had unwittingly made enemies of those journalists not invited to be part of the inner circle. camp pain 2013 The first blows in the FIA presidential campaign have been landed, with challenger David Ward taking advantage of the Italian Grand Prix weekend to lay out his election manifesto before incumbent Jean Todt had confirmed his candidacy. Kate Walker reports F1 >>> FEATUrE