Todt’s election rival wants Bahrain race investigation

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David Ward, who is standing for election against FIA president Jean Todt, says questions should be asked over why Formula One is continuing to race in the troubled state of Bahrain.

The Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled in 2011 after the government’s suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations left several protesters dead and hundreds more injured. Despite an ongoing state of emergency in the area attempts were made to hold the race in 2011 and it was eventually reinstated the following year.

Ward told the BBC in an interview an investigation was needed into the suitability of Bahrain as a grand prix venue.

“Look at things on the ground, talk to all sides as far as is possible and make a judgement based on that.”

The FIA conducted its own investigation into the situation in 2011 which produced a favourable verdict. But the report was discredited when the race ultimately failed to go ahead.

Ward said Todt had been poorly served by the report, which was written by Spanish motoring club president Carlos Gracia.

“I think he was rather badly served in that mission [to Bahrain],” said Ward. “I felt sorry for him, actually.”

Bahrain has been allocated a place on the 2014 F1 calendar which was released last week.