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A declaration of war?

NEWS STORY
16/05/2008

At first glance, a letter sent by Max Mosley to "all FIA Club Presidents" appears to be the Englishman's latest attempt to garner support ahead of the all-important extraordinary meeting of the FIA in Paris on June 3.

Indeed, as one reads the first few paragraphs (Pitpass has a copy of the letter in its possession) and its assurances of "unsolicited letters of support" one gets the distinct feeling that it might be just another rallying call.

However, it is as one continues reading that one becomes clear that this is not a final plea to be allowed to stay in office, this is a call for support not for Mosley but, according to him, the very future of Formula One.

In a week in which Radovan Novak, the general secretary of the Czech Automobile Association, has apologised for suggesting that (McLaren boss) Ron Dennis might have been behind the 'sting' which saw Mosley's private life exposed by a British tabloid, the FIA President, who has previously hinted at a grand scale conspiracy, suggests that there are other parties which have a far greater interest in his downfall and that of the FIA. Indeed, Mosley all but uses Dr Mike Lawrence's mantra... 'follow the money'.

Taking the bull by the horns, he raises an issue that has rarely been mentioned publicly in recent years, the one hundred year commercial deal between the FIA and the Formula One Commercial Rights Holder (CRH).

In 2001, this controversial deal saw Bernie Ecclestone's family holding company (SLEC) pay a mere $309m for a one hundred year extension to the (then) current deal which was due to run out in 2010. In 2005, CVC took over as the Commercial Rights Holder, but with Ecclestone still maintaining control.

"The CRH originally asked us to accept changes to the agreement in order to reduce the CRH's liability to tax," writes Mosley.

However, there's a sting in the tail, as he points out...

"These we can probably concede," he continues. "But the CRH has also now asked for control over the Formula One regulations and the right to sell the business to anyone - in effect to take over Formula One completely. I do not believe the FIA should agree to this.

"To do so would be to abandon core elements of the FIA's patrimony including, for example, our ability to protect the traditional Grands Prix. We would also be weaker financially but, even more importantly, we would put at risk the viability of the FIA as the regulatory authority of international motor sport and lose a valuable communication platform for the wider interests of the organisation.

"We could perhaps grant the CRH greater freedom to sell the business," he admits, "but only if, in return, the FIA takes control of all sporting aspects of a Formula One Grand Prix including, for example, the allocation of passes to the working areas. However, there is so far no sign of agreement on this."

Mosley then issue a warning regarding a new Concorde Agreement, claiming that the CRH sees a Concorde Agreement as another way to exercise control over the sport.

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