Bernie Ecclestone is definitelly not happy Max Mosley still heads the FIA. They may be old friends (if there is such thing as friends in F1) but where money talks bullshit walks. And so Bernie has opened his mouth. I was not paying much attention to details of his interview with The Times. Frankly I got tired of the whole Mosley thingy. But when F1Wolf reader nieuwe sent me the article by email I could not resist and read the whole thing.
Here are few quotes, some already widely discussed all over the F1 blogs, some not that much:
Max Mosley has won the vote of confidence at the FIA General Assembly meeting in Paris. Surprise or should have been expected ?
Statement from the FIA:
During the Extraordinary General Assembly held in Paris today, the FIA Member Clubs voted on a motion of confidence in the FIA President.The FIA membership voted as follows:For the motion: 103
Against the motion: 55
Invalid votes 4
Mosley got the result he believed he would get. The vote shows the vast majority of the FIA member clubs does not feel Mosley’s private life has any effect on his work as FIA president. The future will show whether that is the case or not …
The judgment day is getting closer and Max Mosley saga is heating up. Yesterday a letter from Franco Lucchesi (FIA Deputy President for Automobile, Mobility and Tourism) to all titular members of the World Council for Automobile Mobility and Tourism revealed that Mx Mosley refused a compromise solution to the whole mess surrounding FIA and Mosley himself. The proposal presented to Mosley by Region I President Werner Kraus and Franco Lucchesi gave Mosley guarantee of vote of confidence on June 3, 2008 in return for Mosley’s resignation starting from November 2008.
The response from clubs came quickly – 24 clubs representing 22 countries (but not the majority of votes) have written a letter that pretty much says the FIA would be better off without Mosley:
“We strongly believe that the only respectable way forward for the FIA, and for yourself, is to have an orderly transition, with an immediate agreement and your commitment to step down. The FIA is in a critical situation. Its image, reputation and credibility are being severely eroded. Every additional day that this situation persists, the damage increases. There is no way back.
Max Mosley is determined to stay on as FIA president until the end of his term in 2009. Even if that means leaving the public representation to two Deputy Presidents. This is one the things he states in his four page letter to all FIA club presidents. The more interesting however are the reasons why he wants to continue. One is Mosley’s concern about the election of his successor. And this question is directly connected with the next point. The negotiations… Mosley’s letter may be going on for four full pages but the points that will sure stir the biggest controversy and discussions are his revelations about the current negotiations between FIA and the Formula One Commercial Rights Holder.
“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.
To do so would be to abandon core elements of the FIA’s patrimony including, for example, our ability to protect the traditional grands prix. We would also be weaker financially but, even more importantly, we would put at risk the viability of the FIA as the regulatory authority of international motor sport and lose a valuable communication platform for the wider interests of the organisation.”
So Max Mosley is basically saying, that if he is forced to resign, FIA is about to loose the control over Formula 1. In the part of his letter where he talks about the election of new president he openly expresses concern that a person may be elected that would actually support the interests of the Commercial Rights Holder in the current negotiations.
Grandprix dot com has a story about the interview Radovan Novak, the general-secretary of the Autoclub of the Czech Republic and the President of the FIA’s Central European Zone gave to Radio Impuls on April 23, 2008. It has been over a week since the interview but it is probably understandable that it takes a while till something someone says on Czech radio makes a headline somewhere else.
The report on Grandprix dot com suggests that Nr. Novak supports a theory that McLaren may be behind the whole hooker set up. I went to Radio Impuls site, checked out the transcript of the interview and here is my attempt to translate as accurately as possible (but no guarantee) the part of the interview that Grandprix dot com talks about:
Q: When you said you talked with Max Mosley about the latest scandal that is shaking the F1 world, especially as team owners and some F1 drivers have spoken against Mosley, you seem to believe the explanation he has given you in private conversation, that it was all some sort of conspiracy (set up). Do you believe in this possibility and what kind of conspiracy this could be ?
A: I do not like to speculate on what kind of conspiracy (set up) this is. But I do believe this was a set up because the recent developments, when FIA following the lead of Mr. Mosley imposed significant fines suggest this could be the case.
Q: Do you mean McLaren ?
A: Yes, for example McLaren. But the team owners and F1 pilots are not all in an agreement over this issue. Some agree, some do not express any opinions, it is different everywhere. Some find it to be a problem, for example the Bahrain royal family, because their religion strongly oposes such behaviour. In my opinion, I do not know, it does not matter to people in South America, because they normally live like that, so it all hangs in balance. I think Mr. Mosley is now pulling the strings all over the world in order to get out of this with an honour and we will see how this all will end up.
If you find the answers a bit messy and confusing that is how they seem also in original . The “yes, for example McLaren” answer seems to be direct reposnse to the question about who is behind the set up, but the next sentence already talks about the whole Mosley scandal, not the alleged set up … I am quite interested to see how will South America react to the words of Mr. Novak once they find out what he thinks about their normal way of life …
In any case, Ron Dennis is not impressed:
“We have written to Mr Novak and are currently considering the appropriate route via which the remarks that have been attributed to him may be withdrawn or corrected. As I have consistently said whenever I have been asked about this, I categorically deny that I have anything to do with the News of the World investigation into Mr Mosley. Neither does anyone connected with the McLaren Group or the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, and neither does any agent or any other party acting on behalf of myself or anyone connected with the McLaren Group or the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team.”
As expected, The News Of The World came up with further story on Max Mosley today. Max Mosley said yesterday he did nothing wrong and he keeps denying any Nazi theme in his orgy. One of the ladies involved has her side of story. Someone is not telling the truth.
Whatever the truth is the way this sick story unfolds is EXACTLY WHAT F1 DOES NOT NEED. The FIA president should know that… Can this end now please ?
The F1 teams kept radio silence for several day on the whole Max vs. NOTW issue. And then, not unlike in case of F1 news sites, several of them came out at the same time and made themselves heard:
BMW Sauber and McLaren-Mercedes
“The content of the publications is disgraceful. As a company, we strongly distance ourselves from it. This incident concerns Max Mosley both personally and as President of the FIA, the global umbrella organisation for motoring clubs. Its consequences therefore extend far beyond the motor sport industry. We await a response from the relevant FIA bodies.”
Mosley replied them in very weird manner:
Two days have passed since Max Mosley made the news for all the wrong reasons. What happened since then ? Simply put, the pressure on Mosley is mounting.
Mosley succeeded and having the photos and video removed from YouTube and The News Of The World site. The mainstream F1 sites broke the radio silence and published the story. All of them at about the same like if on command from somebody … And then various F1 figures began to voice their oppinions on the matter. Here is the collection:
“I’ve known him an awful long time. If somebody had told me this without the evidence I would have found it difficult to believe. Assuming it’s all true, what people do privately is up to them. I don’t honestly believe [it] affects the sport in any way. Knowing Max it might be all a bit of a joke. You know, it’s one of those things where he’s sort of taking the p***, rather than anything against Jewish people.”
and Bernie Ecclestone again on comments that Mosley may cancel travel to Bahrain:
“He shouldn’t go, should he? The problem is he would take all the ink away from the race and put it on something which, honestly and truly, is nobody else’s business anyway.”
… and Bernie Ecclestone on future of Max Mosley (for The Times)
“What Max should do is what he thinks is right because it is only him that’s involved, not the FIA. He must do what he believes, in his heart of hearts, is the right thing. If Max was in bed with two hookers, they’d say ‘good for you or something like that’. But this, as it is, people find it repulsive. I think that’s the problem. The trouble with Max is he’s been brave and there is bravado at the moment, but I don’t think it’s going to be easy. And if he starts to sue, from what I understand, the chances of him winning would be slim and, the trouble is, it’s just a lot more ink for the press.”
If anyone thought this year will be without controversy in F1, well it was not to be. Only 2 weeks into the season and the new “gate” is on horizon. And it involves none other than Max Mosley himself.
The British paper The News Of The World ran this story yesterday. If the link does not work, then a video from the story is on YouTube and attracted well over 100,000 view in few hours only … No wonder …
Some European papers picked up the story (like Gazetta dello Sport in Italy), but not even a mention yet on any major Formula 1 websites. It looks like everybody is waiting what Max Mosley has to say … The F1 Forums however have been flooded with the Mosley discussions for whole Sunday …
Update: There is an article in Times Online available now, click here
It is hard to tell from the photos and video if the man described as Max Mosley is really Max Mosley. But the silence from him and from all F1 sites may suggest that he may be. If the story was a total fabrication I would expect Mosley to deny it right away and strongly.
So what now ? Will he resign ? Should he ? Will he be forced to ? Or will this just go away ?
Here are few links to other blogs reporting on this story:
Times Online Formula One Blog