Former FIA President Jean-Marie Balestre dies


Jean-Marie Balestre, former President of the FIA, has died, aged 86.

A controversial figure, Balestre, was President of the FIA from 1986 to 1993, and FISA from 1979 to 1981. Over the years he was involved in many legendary 'incidents' in F1, not least the FISA-FOCA war, when he went head-to-head with the constructors, led by Bernie Ecclestone, and the famous clash with Ayrton Senna, who accused the Frenchman of manipulating the 1989 World Championship in favour of Alain Prost.

Reacting to the news of Balestre's death, which was reported by the L'Equipe website, FIA President Max Mosley said: "It is with immense sadness we have learned of the passing of Jean-Marie. His contribution to motorsport in France and indeed throughout the world has been unique."

Mosley defeated Balestre in the election for presidency of FISA in 1991 and facing almost certain defeat two years later in the election for presidency of the FIA, opted to step down, proposing that FISA be abolished and that the Englishman should replace him as President of the FIA.

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Published: 28/03/2008
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