It cannot have escaped your attention that yesterday The News of the World ran an extraordinary story about the FIA President Max Mosley. The paper has alleged that Mosley was involved in a “sick Nazi orgy with 5 hookers”. If the allegations are true, it could have big consequences in the political world of F1.
Like many F1 fans I am no fan of Mosley. Many have pointed out that there will be a fair few people — Jackie Stewart, Ron Dennis, Damon Hill, Martin Brundle — who must have been chuckling to themselves as they read the story. I chuckled as well. I would dearly love to see Max Mosley leave the FIA Presidency for any reason, and this looks like a pretty good opportunity.
Then again, what Max Mosley does in his private life should remain private. He is entitled to have whatever sex life he wants among consenting adults. I am not a fan of the News of the World brand of journalism which mainly involves secretly prowling around people’s bedrooms, where journalists really shouldn’t be.
Nevertheless, the “Nazi” connotations really take these allegations over the top. My impression is that the Nazi element of the story has probably been exaggerated by the News of the World. We all know how the whiff of Hitler sells papers. And Max Mosley’s connections with fascism are well-known and have not been hidden. He is the son of Oswald Mosley, Britain’s most infamous fascist. It is not too hard to imagine someone in the towers of News International concocting this story. The allegations are almost cartoon-like in their extremity.
It is useful to point out here that Max Mosley is apparently engaged in legal action with another News International newspaper, The Sunday Times, over an article written by Martin Brundle. So News International has an interest in undermining Mosley.
Nevertheless, there is seemingly damning video evidence. The footage is blurry and at no point do you get a truly clear view of “Max Mosley’s” face. The stills on the News of the World website are more convincing. But it wouldn’t be the first time a tabloid newspaper has faked such a video.
Nonetheless, the allegations in themselves are damaging to Mosley’s credibility. While everyone has the right to a private sex life, making light of Nazism and concentration camp victims in this way is rather different. A lot of people will be ready to make a connection with Mosley’s autocratic approach to ruling F1. Then there is the suggestion that the FIA is increasingly filled with Mosley lackeys and yes-men suppressing debate.
What is interesting is the fact that so few news outlets are covering this story. As F1Fanatic points out, the fact that so few dedicated Formula 1 websites are even mentioning this story is telling in itself. There has been not a peep on this massive F1 story from any of the biggest F1 websites. Look on Autosport, Pitpass, Grandprix.com, Planet-F1, ITV-F1, Crash.net — you’ll draw a blank.
This is becoming an all-too familiar reality. Remember last year when the FIA failed to properly censor sensitive documents? Not a peep from any of those websites either.
Mosley effectively controls the F1 media, even “independent” websites such as Pitpass. This is yet another reason why the F1 blogs and podcasts are becoming more important than the mainstream media. We do not need to bend over backwards to please the powers-that-be to get accreditation or even avoid an ear bashing.
The media should be able to stand up to Max Mosley’s bullying attitude. The fact that they don’t even appear to attempt to counter it any more makes me despair. The sooner Mosley is gone, the better. And if it takes a sex scandal to do it, then so be it.