Not a lazy Sunday afternoon for Mosley


It certainly wasn't the Sunday afternoon that Max Mosley had planned.

"I was in Monaco and I had two really interesting books to read," he told The Guardian. "One is called The Wisdom Of Crowds - which I found particularly fascinating. It got me thinking: if all these thousands of people keep saying I'm a tosser, then maybe they're actually right? So I planned a lovely long lunch and a good read before watching the race on television. Instead I got all this aggravation."

Then, the phone calls began....

"The teams had gone into headless chicken mode," he says of the raft of suggestions that various teams had put forward in order that a compromise might be reached and the race go ahead. "One of their suggestions - made more after the event - was that everyone should run with the chicane and only the Bridgestone teams would score points. Bernie would've probably been happy to compromise because his job is to maximise profits. My job is to run the sport absolutely fairly for everybody and not put anybody at risk. Bernie understood that it was not possible for me to give in."

Mosley has no doubt, this was "a black-and-white issue" he says, "I had to apply the rules fairly. In sport you can't allow the majority to dictate.

"I had lots of calls from Bernie, Ron Dennis and Flavio Briatore," he admits. "The interaction with Flavio was difficult because he did not make any coherent point. Ron was more rational. With regard to switching to Bridgestone he made the valid point that without testing there could be no safety - which was my precise point about the chicane."

As race time approached, Mosley admits that it was looking bleak: "I was only confident the Ferraris would go out. I wasn't confident about Jordan and Minardi. But I hoped some would race using the pit-lane option. Only on the warm-up lap did I get a call saying they were probably going to pull in.

"They were incredibly stupid," he adds, "because there are no winners in a situation like this - except the American lawyers. It was crazy. I felt intense irritation because I also suspected the tyre problem was not as grave as they represented. I felt the situation had been created artificially and deliberately."

Looking ahead to this Wednesday, when the seven teams attend a meeting of the World motor Sport Council to hear their fate following the Indy fiasco, there are many that fear that this is the point at which the sport will implode, with Minardi boss Paul Stoddart - whose team raced in America - warning that a harsh punishment could lead to further boycotts.

"I wouldn't exclude a ban or two," warns Mosley. "If it emerges that the guilt of certain teams is of a certain level, then a ban will be justified. There are various other possibilities - points being deducted, a fine or reprimand. I don't know what will happen until we hear from the teams."

A ban would surely be the worst possible punishment, and sound the death knell for F1 as we know it.

"Even if I want to do it, the other 20 members (of the disciplinary council) are unlikely to do so," admits Mosley.

Of claims that much of the present situation is political, and indeed Mosley's own personal determination to force the teams into line, he says: "For me it's not personal. There is only animosity over who should run the sport. On the one hand I'm saying it's the FIA and they think it should be the teams. When I was one of them I thought the same. But the governing body will always win. So I'm not concerned if they take an antagonistic line. What are they going to do? If they go on strike, they're simply cutting off their nose to spite their face. That won't happen.

"There are times when I'm utterly fed up," he sighs. "All the time in this job you're trying to solve other people's problems. You sit in an office in Monaco slaving away and you could be on the beach or having a nice lunch. It's crazy."

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Published: 27/06/2005
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