PARIS (AP) — Jean Todt unanimously won a second term as president of motorsport's governing body FIA on Friday, running unopposed.
The Frenchman's main rival, David Ward of Britain, pulled out of the race last month because of a lack of backing. "When you go for election and you get such a big support, it's always very pleasing," Todt said. "To see that I have such a support from them, it's very encouraging to move forward."
Todt detailed the platform for his second mandate in a brochure entitled "The Road Forward." It emphasized the creation of a Motor Sport Development Fund, the growth of motorsports at the grassroots level, and reducing carbon emissions at particular racing events.
"If you (ask) me 'what's the biggest challenge?' it's to develop grassroots motorsport because nobody is interested in that," Todt said. "Everybody is interested in Formula One. For me, that's not the priority."
In an effort to reduce pollution in the F1 championship, the 2.4-liter normally-aspirated V8 engines will be replaced by 1.6-liter turbo V6 engines incorporating energy recovery systems. Todt's campaign has been boosted by the completion in September of a new Concorde Agreement, which sets the framework upon which F1 teams participate in the championship and share in its commercial success from 2013-20.
"If you (ask) me 'what's the most important thing in F1?' it's to reduce costs," Todt said. "It's more important than anything else, because otherwise F1 will die." Ward challenged Todt in front of FIA's ethics committee in September, claiming the Frenchman collected letters of support before the election process started, but his complaint was thrown out.
"I deeply regret that in the course of these last few weeks," Todt said, "we have had unfounded insinuations cast on the FIA's governance, the transparency of its accounts, the neutrality of its administration, and the integrity of its members."
A former director general of the FIA foundation, Ward proposed 20 reforms in his "Agenda for Change" manifesto such as limiting the presidency to two terms instead of three, reducing overheads and travel expenditure, adopting a policy against bribery and corruption, and implementing more financial transparency.
Four years ago, Todt beat Finnish candidate Ari Vatanen 135-49 to succeed Max Mosley, who stepped down after 16 years in charge. Todt is a former Ferrari principal who revived the fortunes of the flagging Italian team. Under his guidance, Ferrari won six straight constructors' championships from 1999-2004.