FIA president Jean Todt has been accused by his rival for the post of using the resources of the governing body to help his re-election campaign.
As the battle for the FIA presidency steps up a gear, Todt's rival David Ward says he intends to file a complaint against the federation's Ethics Committee about attempts he suggests are to distort the election campaign.
In a press release issued by Ward on Tuesday, he said that Todt had used meetings around the world, arranged and paid for by the FIA, to elicit written support for his bid to secure a second term.
Ward said: "It is vital that the FIA election processes are conducted in a fair, democratic and transparent manner. I believe that demanding signature of support agreements in these circumstances represents a serious violation of the FIA's rules, regulations and ethical code.
"The complaint will enable the Ethics Committee to investigate the legitimacy of these agreements, the circumstances in which signatures were demanded, and whether it is an appropriate use of the FIA's resources for its staff and management to pursue Mr. Todt's personal re-election ambitions at official FIA regional meetings."
TODT PLAYS DOWN ISSUE
Todt has been aware of Ward's unhappiness about the 'support letters' but he said at the Italian Grand Prix that he had done nothing wrong.
"How can I avoid it if you have a group of people who say 'you do a very good job, we want you'?" he said. "For quite a long time I have got support, but I am not claiming I get it every day, from people who incidentally were completely against me when I was up for election. I never put the knife or the gun to somebody saying it [to support me]."
In fact, Todt thinks other parties have been guilty of electioneering, as was made evident in a letter that was circulated to FIA members in July.
"I don't want to get into any kind of controversy but a letter was circulated to most of the club members a little while ago, emphasizing good governance, different things. I know that some members were not liking that," he said. "Their way of demonstrating that they were not in favour of this kind of practice [the letter] was to sign me a document, a kind of resolution, saying 'please, will you go again and we will support you'."
THE MOSLEY FACTOR
There have been suggestions that Ward's campaign is being supported by former FIA president Max Mosley, with the pair having worked closely together in the past. When asked if he felt Mosley was behind Ward's campaign, he said: "I have very good contact with Max. I like Max. I have always been defending Max.
"Max since 2004 has been suggesting that I should be president of the FIA. I see him, not very often, but we have dinner together sometimes.
"In May he sent me an e-mail saying, 'Don't hear the noise that I am interested or that David is interested: it's not true. I am not interested.'"