Just when Formula One appeared to be coming out of the darkness and heading towards the bright future of cooperation, Max Mosley has decided to cast doubt on it all once again, this time by reacting angrily to claims made by FOTA since the deal on Wednesday was made. The deal would have seen a breakaway series averted, FOTA’s proposals of cost-cutting followed and Mosley not standing fro re-election in October. Alas, that may not happen now.
Since Wednesday, it has been claimed that a series of rumours and allegations have been made by FOTA, and in a letter to FOTA’s chairman Luca di Montezemolo, Mosley voiced his anger at these claims and stated the team’s association has deliberately attempted to mislead the media.
In his letter, which was sent to di Montezemolo on Thursday, Mosley references the suggestions that FIA Senate president Michel Boeri has now taken over Mosley’s role in relation to Formula One, that Mosley was forced out of office and that he would have no ongoing role within the FIA.
Mosley has slammed FOTA and demanded an apology and correction to the statements made. According to Autosport, the letter was sent to di Montezemolo prior to Thursday’s FOTA press conference, where no apology was forthcoming.
We made a deal yesterday in Paris to end the recent difficulties in Formula 1. A fundamental part of this was that we would both present a positive and truthful account to the media.
I was therefore astonished to learn that FOTA has been briefing the press that Mr Boeri has taken charge of Formula 1, something which you know is completely untrue; that I had been forced out of office, also false; and, apparently, that I would have no role in the FIA after October, something which is plain nonsense, if only because of the FIA statutes.
Furthermore, you have suggested to the media that I was a ‘dictator’, an accusation which is grossly insulting to the 26 members of the World Motor Sport Council who have discussed and voted all the rules and procedures of Formula 1 since the 1980s, not to mention the representatives of the FIA’s 122 countries who have democratically endorsed everything I and my World Motor Sport Council colleagues have done during the last 18 years.
If you wish the agreement we made to have any chance of survival, you and FOTA must immediately rectify your actions. You must correct the false statements which have been made and make no further such statements. You yourself must issue a suitable correction and apology at your press conference this afternoon.
Formula One is run entirely by our 5-strong team without any help from me or any other outsider. There was no need for me to involve myself further in Formula One once we had a settlement. Equally, I had a long-standing plan not to seek re-election in October. It was therefore possible for me to confirm both points to you yesterday.
However, given your and FOTA’s deliberate attempt to mislead the media, I now onsider my options open. At least until October, I am president of the FIA with the full authority of that office. After that it is the FIA members clubs, not you or FOTA, who will decide on the future leadership of the FIA. Max Mosley.
Unfortunately for Mosley, this letter only furthers the perception that he is a dictatorial manager, and it also suggests that he no longer commands the respect of the teams – the very fact Mosley felt compelled to send this indicates that. Mosley is clearly clutching at straws. While Mosley does not need the support of Formula One fans, he cannot work against them either. And unfortunately for himself, this letter will only push more away rather than reach out to newcomers. It also shows a man who is desperately trying to retain the power he seemingly craves.
It would also appear that Mosley is taking the alleged actions of FOTA somewhat personally. The letter apparently did not come from the FIA, but from Max himself. While it is perfectly acceptable for the FIA president to write a letter or send an email, it does seem a little strange that in this case, he would put his name at the bottom. Perhaps the letter would have carried more weight if the FIA had sent it.
It is very clear that FOTA have no issues with the FIA itself. In the past, they have made it known they are unhappy with the governance of the sport, which could be interpreted as the FIA. However, it would seem that Mosley agreeing to not stand for re-election again in October was what finalised the deal on Wednesday. The very fact that Mosley is now bringing that into question leads me to believe that he is aware that this is the point that could cause the deal to collapse. Otherwise, he could have threatened a return to the £40m budget cap.
If FOTA now resurrect their plan to create a breakaway championship – and it would seem this is the only course of action for FOTA aside from backing down and/or apologising – we will be back to square-one again. Formula One will face falling apart at the seams, fans will be confused and in this time of financial turmoil, the sport will be further rocked through its core.
If it is all about Mosley – and it is looking more and more like it is – perhaps the FIA Senate need to think about what is more important to the sport it holds so close to its heart and that helps promote all the work the organisation does away from motor sport. Formula One, or Max Mosley?