David Ward has left the starting blocks at full tilt in his run for the FIA presidency, providing a compelling mix of detail and mystery that will keep him in the media spotlight for the duration of the campaign.
Before the Italian Grand Prix weekend began in earnest, there were whispers doing the rounds of the paddock concerning Ward's presence in Monza. The rumour was that the man himself was in town, but that he would not be attending the race, nor would he be a visible presence in the paddock. But a number of paddock sages insisted that Ward was still at his holiday home in Cyprus, where he would remain until early next week.
It was a nice idea in theory, but one that was blown out of the water when it emerged that Ward had invited a select coterie of journalists out for dinner on Thursday night, so that he could outline the bones of his campaign platform in an informal setting.
The problem inherent in such moves is that while the lucky invited few are instantly on side, those left out in the cold find themselves rather less inclined to support the campaign of someone who didn't view them as important enough to make that first tier group. Bridges are both built and burned in one fell swoop.
It was an early mis-step in what promises to be a strong campaign. Ward today released his 'Agenda for Change', a twenty-point manifesto spelling out his intentions should he be elected to the presidency. Like all new brooms, Ward hopes to sweep out many of the old cobwebs lingering around the Place de la Concorde, and he promises to bring the FIA into the 21st century through significant restructuring of the Federation.
Perhaps the biggest change would be to the nature of the presidency itself. Ward wants to see a reduction in the role's administrative duties, something he hopes to make possible by creating a CEO role for precisely that purpose. The presidency would then become non-executive.
A number of Ward's stated goals are a continuation of work already underway by Todt - a reduction in the body's travel costs; investing in motorsport safety, training of officials, etc., and providing development grants to member clubs in low and middle-income countries, to name but a few. Where Ward seeks to be revolutionary is in his efforts to bring the FIA into line with modern corporate structures.