Remember that agreement in Paris on Wednesday? The one between FOTA and the FIA that was going to save F1? You remember… the one in which Max Mosley promised not to stand for re-election and the future of the sport was assured by all the teams agreeing to carry on in F1 until 2012?
Yeah, well forget that.
Max apparently wasn’t very happy with the way the press conferences went, and was rather upset that it was announced that he was standing aside immediately from his F1 roles and that Michel Boeri would be taking over as F1 mediator for the next few months. He also wasn’t very happy with being labelled a dictator…. perhaps unsurprisingly.
So he’s written to the F1 teams, to tell them in no uncertain terms to apologise or all deals are off.
Given your and FOTA’s deliberate attempt to mislead the media, I now consider 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 member clubs, not you or FOTA, who will decide on the future leadership of the FIA.
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 1 is run entirely by our 25-strong team without any help from me or any other outsider. There was no need for me to involve myself further in Formula 1 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.
So was any apology forthcoming in yesterday’s FOTA press conference? You bet your bottom dollar it wasn’t. And why? Possibly because FOTA didn’t want to apologise, or possibly because, as usual, Max had made his statement, or sent his letter, while those to whom the letter was addressed were deep in a meeting. It’s not unheard of for major announcements to be made minutes before press conferences on F1 weekends. His letter seems to have all the hallmarks of such a game, being sent at a time when he knew nobody would be able to read it, and thus making his request impossible to meet. It makes FOTA appear to be unrepentant.
It’s enough to make you scream.
While FOTA yesterday was talking about taking the sport back to the fans, listening to what the fans wanted and outlining a vision for a bright future, we hear that behind the scenes politicking from Mosley has thrown the whole thing back up in the air.
While Mosley is the FIA President, there is a general feeling within the sport that he considers himself to be the FIA. His agreement to stand aside from a Presidency which, in the words of Luca di Montezemolo, has had the hallmarks of a dictatorship, appeared to give peace a real chance. It was Mosley’s continued involvement that stood in the way of the sport’s future.
So why would he risk the deal he had done being scuppered by threatening to stand again for the Presidency?
Read the online bulletin boards and you will find little or no sympathy for Mosley. The boards scream that he is authoritarian, dictatorial, out of touch and running the sport on his ego alone. He may not like these accusations, and he may not see them as true, but they are the views of the fans of this sport and they are growing louder with every passing day. It is a sport he has helped fashion into its current guise, and a sport he has nurtured. But it is a sport which, through his continued involvement, he threatens to obliterate.
We had the smallest chink of light in this infernal darkness of a political mess on Wednesday. One hopes that light is allowed to shine, and is not snuffed out by silly gripes and playground politics which can be resolved as simply as they can be forgotten.