In a perhaps surprising move (or not), Max Mosley has added pressure to the member clubs of the FIA by writing to each club president in attempts to make it understood why he hasn’t resigned from the presidency, and to layout his reasons for his pursuit of continued presidency of the FIA. In his letter, which Autosport and GrandPrix.com have quoted fairly extensively in this evening’s postings, Max suggests that he is needed in order to continue the discussions and negotiations that he has been involved with. Which, before I get into this post, strongly hints at very poor management. A skill, I would have hoped, a president be fairly adept at.
In his letter, Max discusses the negotiations that are apparently going on between the FIA and Formula One commercial rights holders Bernie Ecclestone and his financial backers, CVC. The negotiations centre around control of the sport, most notably the rights to govern the rules.
We are in the middle of a renegotiations of the 100 year commercial agreement between the FIA and the Formula One Commercial Rights Holder (CRH). In effect, this agreement governs Formula One.
The CRH originally asked us to accept changes to the agreement in order to reduce the CRH’s liability to tax. These we can probably concede. But the CRH has also now asked for control over the F1 regulations and the right to sell the business to anyone – in effect to take over F1 completely. I do not believe the FIA should agree to this. Max Mosley.
Indeed, the FIA have been put in a difficult position, but one has to wonder why the rights to the rules are being negotiated in the first place. Is it perhaps because the CRH feel the FIA are doing a poor job of this? Do they feel that the FIA are pushing Formula One in the wrong direction? Do they feel they could do a better job? If everything was running smoothly, I doubt this would even be an issue, but it has indeed become an issue, and the primary issue is power.
This new information puts more light on Bernie Ecclestone’s stance on the Mosley-saga, and one could even go as far as to suggest that a rift between Mosley and Ecclestone has or could form. Ecclestone has an obvious vested interest in the sport, as does the FIA. A battle for power between two of the most powerful people in motor sport would make for fascinating viewing, but could seriously damage the sport’s global reputation.
Mosley went on in his letter to say that should he leave office the negotiations could be stalled and warned that the next president could even be “elected with the support of the very people with whom we are negotiating.” Quite why a break in negotiations would be seen as bad I don’t fully understand. Often, a mutually pre-decided pause can do wonders for negotiations, particularly if they are given a fresh perspective by someone else.
Mosley’s language then heightens with the following two paragraphs.
I have been determined to fight for the rights and role of the FIA in F1 and it is possibly for this reason that the media have been encouraged by those who have an interest in undermining my Presidency.
I believe, therefore, that whatever the Extraordinary General Assembly decides, it should not reward those who have deliberately set out to destabilise the FIA at such a crucial time in its history. Max Mosley.
The letter concludes with Mosley reiterating a previous claim that he will stand down in 2009, the end of his current term, for which he adjusted after the scandal broke. Earlier in the year, Mosley had stated that he will see how he feels nearer the end of his term, but if he felt as though he could continue to work in his role, he might seek re-election. Alas, he has now stated he won’t, but Mosley has changed his mind in the past, and despite his words, there is little to stop him doing so again.
The rules surrounding the length of term for the president of the FIA have been changed – a president may now only remain for a maximum of 2 four-year terms – but this new rule doesn’t come into effect until after Mosley has left. He could stay on for longer if he gained the support and was re-elected.
Mosley finished his letter off by saying that he doesn’t intend to resign “unless the majority of the membership wishes him to do so”. Should Mosley be given the vote of confidence at the EGM, he would leave most of the public representation of his role to his two deputies. This, Mosley claims, will allow him time to pursue legal proceedings against those wo have caused him so much embarrassment.
Aside from the fact that while the News Of The World may have invaded Max’s privacy it is still Max who has caused the embarrassment, the FIA originally stated when the story broke, that this was a private issue between Mosley and the newspaper involved. So quite how the FIA will allow Mosley to spend his time on his legal battles instead of attending to his duties of president is a little beyond me. However, I will concede that I have not and never likely will be in a such a position as to fully understand Mosley’s role.
The next two weeks are going to be very interesting, not least the outcome of the vote of confidence. It is very clear, as it has been for a while, that Mosley does not intend to stand down and will continue to fight his cause to the bitter end, despite the damage it is causing not just to Formula One, but all the concerns of the FIA, an international organisation.[poll:13]
Further reading on the Mosley saga: BlogF1 Tag Archive – Max Mosley
Update: Thanks to Keith’s F1Fanatic being such a valuable resource to Formula One fans who wish to understand the sport without the jargon or ‘PR speak’, I now have a copy of the aforementioned letter. To provide further reading to this article, I will unashamedly upload the same version for readers here to view, only to allow those who read this article to gain further insight into the parts of the letter I was unable to read at the time of writing. However, I do urge readers to check out F1Fanatic’s post on the same story – the writing and format makes for a compelling and reasoned reading. Needless to say, Keith asks a lot of right questions.
Letter from Max Mosley to FIA Club Presidents (PDF, 512kb)
All quotes from Autosport.com and GrandPrix.com, each linked to in the article body.