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Mosley "relieved" that Raikkonen won title

NEWS STORY
22/12/2007

In a curiously soft interview with The Guardian (where else?), FIA President Max Mosley admits he was "relieved" to see Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen win the 2007 World Championship ahead of McLaren duo, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

"Relieved because, if it had been either of the two McLaren drivers, there would always have been a question mark," he told Richard Williams. "I'm not sure how big a question mark but it would have been there. And that puts you in an incredibly difficult position. I think we've been very lucky."

Asked if he thought the spy saga(s) had damaged F1, Mosley believes it was actually good for the sport, something that few within the paddock would honestly agree with.

"People are interested in the human aspect," he said, "and the whole human aspect of the Ferrari-McLaren thing fascinated a lot of people outside Formula One. The publicity actually increases interest.

"So I don't think it does any harm to Formula One as long as the sponsors and so on feel the sport is honestly run and honestly governed."

Only a few weeks back, three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart - who is understood to be taking legal action against Mosley following the Englishman's claim that the Scot was a certified halfwit - called for a change to the leadership at the FIA, a remark that its President was only too eager to comment upon.

"Dear old Jackie," said Mosley. "He knows nothing about sports governance. Because he never stops talking, he doesn't know much about anything, actually. He just talks. So when people like that say it, you think, 'I just can't.' It's very childish, I suppose.

"The real moment to go is when you lose interest in your ideas," he admitted. "As far as I go, the only thing that keeps me doing it is new ideas and new technologies and steering the thing in a sensible direction. That's the motivator."

Asked if there is any truth to the claims that he dislikes (McLaren boss) Ron Dennis, and that this played a part in the FIA's pursuit of the Woking team, Mosley said: "That's actually not so. I quite like him. But I do despise - I think that's probably the right word - his attitude to Formula One, when he says, for example, that he's passionate about Formula One. That's not true. He's passionate about McLaren finishing first and second in every race, which is his job, but it's not the same thing as being passionate about formula one and it's foolish to pretend that it is."

Despite the Woking team having issued a grovelling (a word curiously used by almost all the major British media) apology, Mosley remains sceptical as to the degree of Dennis' own involvement.

"One can only say it's extremely improbable that Ron didn't know," he said. "Every time I speak to him he still assures me that he would never tell a lie, that he never has told a lie and that he hasn't lied to us. When you've known somebody for 40 years it's very difficult just to say, 'Well, I don't believe you.' But in the end no hard-nosed lawyer or policeman would believe it for a moment. I'm probably being a bit of a wimp about it."

The Englishman, despite criticism, stands by the recent decision not to punish Renault for its own spy saga, in light of the hefty punishment meted out to McLaren.

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