Mosley, Stewart and Hill


When reporting comments Max Mosley made regarding Sir Jackie Stewart, Pitpass described the FIA President's remarks as "nasty, vicious and petty". And so they were.

Sadly, such is the culture of fear within Planet Paddock, particularly within the Media Centre, that there was precious little criticism from other quarters, indeed some sections of the media only too eager to reveal this having learned that didn't touch the story, clearly worried that to do so might lead to accreditation problems further down the line.

Thankfully, someone out there has had the balls to go public, to condemn Mr Mosley for his totally unnecessary comments. Indeed, Damon Hill, for it he, has accused the FIA President of bringing the sport into disrepute and calls on him to make a public apology.

In a letter to Autosport magazine, Hill pulls no punches in response to Mosley's dismissal of Stewart - a three-time World Champion, successful businessman, former team owner, long-time ambassador of the sport and close friend of assorted royalty - as "a certified halfwit".

"To call him 'a certified halfwit' would be on the first level unkind," writes the 1996 World Champion, "but on another level it is nothing other than a wicked joke designed to visit the utmost humiliation on its victim.

"Regardless or not of whether he was alluding to his dyslexia, what he said was a gross insult to one of the sport's leading figures over the last four decades and a thrice world champion. Not only is it bad manners, it also calls into question the character and judgment of the man who represents motor sport throughout the world through the august institution of the FIA.

"It is conduct most unbecoming of an FIA president and, in my humble view, brought the sport into disrepute, a crime he seems so keen to eradicate."

And in order to ensure that everyone knows exactly where he's coming from, Hill concludes: "I would like to emphasise that my motive for writing is sheer indignation and outrage at what I see as abuse."

And quite right too.

It would appear that Mr Mosley was unhappy at comments Stewart made in reference to the World Motor Sport Council hearing in respect of the spy saga, the Scotsman claiming that it was part of a "witch hunt", a reference to the long-standing 'difference of opinion' between the FIA President and McLaren boss Ron Dennis. However, the fact is that Stewart was not alone in thinking this way, far from it.

As President of the FIA, Mr Mosley, widely recognised as having a brilliant mind, should be above such pettiness, and at a time when the sport is attracting more than its fair share of negative publicity should not be making cheap jokes at the expense of one of its true icons - like Lewis Hamilton and Stirling Moss, every man down the pub has heard of Jackie Stewart.

Mosley referred to Stewart dressing like a "1930s music hall man," and though the Scot was born in the last year of that particular decade, when one thinks of 1930s apparel, some, particularly in the UK, tend to think black clothing as opposed to music hall.

Previously, Mosley has made no secret of his obvious contempt for some of the other inhabitants of Planet Paddock, famously referring to Ron Dennis as not being the sharpest knife in the box.

With such contemptuous regard for his fellow inhabitants, one has to wonder what Mosley really feels about the diminutive former second-hand car salesman who not only facilitated his entry to Planet Paddock but has allowed him to enjoy the sort of totalitarian power trip his name prevented him enjoying in the real world.

It is unlikely that Mosley will issue an apology, be it in response to Hill's letter or indeed the alleged threat of legal action from Stewart himself, however, it would be most welcome. What he said might have been a bit of light-hearted banter with a few (specially invited) media cronies over luncheon, and which should never have been made public. However, it has been made public, and it does neither Mosley, Stewart or the sport any favours.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 06/10/2007
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