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Ecclestone calls on Mosley to stand down

NEWS STORY
31/05/2008

While the rest of us wait for the next flurry of letters ahead of Tuesday's Extraordinary General Meeting which may well decide Max Mosley's fate, Bernie Ecclestone has opted to go direct to the media, in this case the Daily Telegraph.

Just a week after telling Mosley that if he wanted war that is precisely what he would get, Ecclestone appears to have reverted to the (unfamilar) 'good cop' role, urging the Englishman to quit rather than be forced out.

"The last thing most people involved in the sport, including the clubs, would want to see is Max in a position where he could be forced to stand down," says Ecclestone. "I don't want to see that. I've been a friend of Max for 40 years. I would hate to see him go in this way after all he has done for the sport.

"Since the story broke I have been under enormous pressure from the people who invest in Formula One, sponsors and manufacturers, over this issue," he continues. "They point out that as a chief executive or chief operating officer of a major company they would have gone either immediately, or within 24 hours, in the same circumstances. They cannot understand why Max has not done the same.

"Max is a strong man. Once he makes a decision he sticks to it. He feels that there is still important work to do at the FIA. But in my view there is a way to accomplish this and retire at the end of the year at the FIA general assembly in November. I would be happy to sit at his side to help him to achieve that.

"He should stand down out of responsibility for the institution he represents, including F1," adds the Englishman. "Everyone who I speak to in a position of authority across F1 rings me to say he should leave. It is regretful that he has not made that decision."

Despite the fact that the story broke at the end of March, Ecclestone insists that he has neither read the original News of the World's article nor seen the video.

"I spoke to Max on the Saturday before the story broke," Ecclestone reveals. "He was the Max he has been for 40 years. The moment I heard about the story I rang him to say how sorry I was for his misfortune. On Monday he was still the same Max, no change at all. Since that day things have changed for him. His fantasies have nothing to do with all he has achieved at the FIA. And he has done a great many things, working 16 hours a day.

"The big problem is that he can no longer represent the FIA worldwide because of these incidents. The general feeling is that people would no longer be comfortable speaking to him in the same way. I have spoken to Max about this and advised him to stand down in November and not to go to the vote next Tuesday."

Since the original story broke, in the eyes of many Mosley has become persona non grata, Ecclestone admits that he too recently had to keep the FIA President at a distance, citing his wife's recent birthday celebrations in Monaco.

"My wife had invited Max to her birthday party," he said. "But she was told to ask Max not to appear because of the embarrassment it might cause to a number of corporate guests. She was extremely upset about that but she accepted she had to speak to him. It was very difficult for her to do that.

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