Mosley, pulling out all the stops


When Max Mosley won his legal case against the News of the World following it's exposure of certain aspect of his personal life, the after effect on the British media was described as a "dark day for British freedom". Funny then, that the man who only a year ago was taking on the media head-on, is now attempting to use it in what many see as his fight for survival.

Given his previous form it might not be so strange that Mosley has chosen to run to the media in an effort to tell his side of the row that is threatening to destroy the sport, however, what is strange is that the Daily Mail, a newspaper which claims to represent middle England, upholds traditional family values, despises liberalism and who editor, Paul Dacre, was at the forefront last year, calling for the FIA President's head at the height of the sex orgy row, is prepared to give him a public platform, just one year later.

In an exclusive interview with the British tabloid, Mosley, referring to comments made by members of FOTA last Wednesday - and echoed around the world by sections of the media and countless hundreds of thousands of fans - accused the teams' alliance of "dancing on his grave", a soundbite worthy of a headline.

'They made the mistake of dancing on my grave before I was buried,' said the Englishman. 'It's no good the teams getting a PR agency to claim I am dead and buried when I am standing here as large as life. I am under pressure now from all over the world to stand for re-election.

"I don't actually want to," he continues. "I feel I am a little bit too old. When I started I was old enough to be the father of the younger Formula One drivers; now I am old enough to be the grandfather of some of those driving today. Although I don't feel old, I must seem very old to them. It definitely needs somebody new from that point of view. Generally, when you have done something for 16 years, as I have done, it's about time to stop. You get a little bit stale.

"I do genuinely want to stop," he protests - just a little too much. "But if there is going to be a big conflict with the car industry, for example, with the FOTA teams, then I won't stop. I will do whatever I have to do. It's not in my nature to walk away from a fight."

Asked about the comment made over the British Grand Prix weekend, when he referred to certain team bosses as loonies, Mosley replied: "That was in the context of saying there are two wings to FOTA. "There are moderates from Brawn, McLaren, possibly Red Bull and BMW; then there are the extremists - Ferrari, Renault and Toyota. I could have called them ultras, but loonies sounded better and made us laugh."

While ignoring the fact that many, not least organizations and charities dealing with mental health issues, might find the use of the word "loony" as insulting and far from funny, Mosley takes great offence at Luca di Montezemolo's claim that he is a dictator.

"By going home to Italy and telling the Italian media that they had toppled the dictator, di Montezemolo has tried to make it sound like I sit here and just decide what's going to happen,' said Mosley. 'It's absolutely not true. I can't do anything unless the WMSC agree and there are 26 members, mostly presidents of important motor sport clubs from all over the world. All these rules that I am supposed to have dictated have been voted on by those people. To say that I run a dictatorship is nonsense.

"I could have had a quiet summer," he continues. "In private, I had made it clear I was not going to stand for re-election after 16 years as president of the FIA, having already been president of the sport's then governing body, FISA, for two years before that.

"On Wednesday, we had a joint press conference where Bernie, Luca and myself all said completely the right things. The FOTA teams had got the deal they wanted, which is freedom to agree among themselves the level of the cost cap. Providing they could strike an agreement with the Williams and Force India teams, who had already made an unconditional entry to the 2010 world championship, and the three new teams, it was a done deal. There was nothing left to argue about.

"But then Luca couldn't keep quiet. It was also being said that I wouldn't be involved in the FIA after October. All of which was simply untrue. As a former president, I automatically have a seat on the senate of the FIA."

Mosley, then takes the opportunity to take a swipe at the Ferrari President, much in the style of that previously meted out to Jackie Stewart, Ron Dennis and others.

"I don't really expect Luca will apologise or withdraw in the way that he should. Yet, on the other hand, within the motor sport world nobody takes him seriously. He's seen as what the Italians call a 'bella figura'. He's chairman of Fiat but the serious individual who runs it is Sergio Marchionne, and I don't suppose he takes much notice of Luca.

"When di Montezemolo comes out with things that are picked up internationally, when people in the UK, for example, read this, they tend to believe it,' he adds."

"And when FOTA say all this nonsense about Boeri replacing me, that also tends to be believed. I think once we have all that put to bed and the teams come back to the deal we did, then I will be happy sticking with the deal we made. I am working on FIA matters from my office in Monaco. It is business as usual."

Asked how all this must be affecting his old mate Bernie Ecclestone, who is clearly shifting towards the teams, Mosley says: "It must be maddening. He's a serious businessman with a serious business to run. Obviously, from his point of view, if he was given a choice between his business and an old friend, he'd choose his business.

"But he knew it was my intention to stop in October, so even if they all objected to me he really didn't have a problem on Wednesday. Nobody was more upset than Bernie when Luca came out with his stupid comments and someone to do with FOTA put out that very dishonest briefing. All it did was cause trouble and Bernie hates having trouble which doesn't result in a profit. He started life selling cars and one of his sayings is, "Once you've sold the car, stop talking". What Luca did was worse; not only did he not stop talking, but he talked stupidly."

Having taken on the press over the matter of privacy, the FIA President surprisingly refers to certain events in his private life, events which the media handled with a surprising amount of understanding, given the track record of the man. Then again, one gets the impression that Mosley is pulling out all the stop in order to hang on.

"The past 16 months have been difficult,' he says. "It is appalling if somebody takes some part of your life that you have always kept completely secret and puts it all over the front page of a newspaper. Yet, obviously, the death of my son was far worse. By comparison, my spats with di Montezemolo are trivial.

"However, I do not want to leave the president's office in a way where it was suggested that people from the car industry had pushed me out," he adds. "If that impression is not completely dispelled, the clubs are going to insist that I stand again.

"So I hope very much that it will be dispelled before we get to that point. And when the time comes to hand all this to somebody else, it will not be with sadness, it will be with relief."

No doubt there will be further exclusives and further leaks to the media as Mosley does whatever he can, not only to save face, but to continue his domination of the sport.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 28/06/2009
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