First of all, I suppose it should not be a surprise that Max Mosley won his vote of confidence. He would never have called it if he did not think he was able to win. But the margin of the victory did take me by surprise somewhat.
But if the vote was designed to assert Max Mosley’s authority, it has surely not worked. There are still the same calls for his resignation, even from people like Luca di Montezemolo (if he could make his mind up about it) and Bernie Ecclestone.
Mosley’s critics can still point out that the countries that voted for Max Mosley were mostly represented by small clubs, some of them caravan clubs who have not the slightest bit of interest in motor racing. The Dutch body, ANWB, went as far as to point out that smaller clubs potentially had a lot to gain financially from voting for Max Mosley.
It is said that the FIA clubs that voted in favour of Max Mosley represented as little as 5% of the FIA clubs’ total membership. This vote has done anything but put a lid on the controversy.
Max Mosley said in his letter a few weeks ago that he intended to stay on as FIA President, implying that he was the only person capable of keeping the FIA together in a time of “crisis”. Well, it looks to me as though if anything his desperation to keep his grubby hands on the steering wheel has exacerbated any crisis there may have been. In fact, it has created a new crisis.
The German body ADAC has already reduced its level of participation in the FIA and the American AAA is hinting that it will do much the same thing. Those are two of the biggest clubs in the FIA and such a split undoubtedly weakens the FIA. Indeed, if the ADAC continues to distance itself from the FIA, the Nürburgring may not return to the F1 calendar.
Way to contain a crisis. Of course, Max Mosley should have done the honourable thing and resigned as soon as the allegations were revealed. Any other public figure would do this. Max Mosley’s ability to hang on to power may have come as a surprise to outsiders who are acquainting themselves with this despicable little man for the first time. But we all know from the many years he has been in charge of F1 that he is not an honourable man.
I can well believe Bernie Ecclestone when he says that Max Mosley’s claim that he will give up the post in 2009 is a bluff. After all, Max Mosley already did resign in 2004 before changing his mind. And do the actions of Max Mosley over the past few months really look like the actions of someone who will be happy to give up the post in a year’s time anyway? Hardly. This man is truly desperate to hang on to his position. Who is to say that Mosley won’t try to remain in his position as FIA President until he dies as Bernie asserts?
As Bernie Ecclestone says, Max Mosley is a man who enjoys conflict. Indeed, we now know rather too much about the kicks he gets out of “robust” dealings and handing out big punishments. How can we take Max Mosley seriously any more? A lot of people thought that last year’s $100 million-sized punishment of McLaren (a value plucked straight out of a cheesy movie dialogue) was completely out of proportion. Well I think we all now suspect some new reasons behind his behaviour last year. How are we to trust the FIA the next time they decide to punish someone? The jokes will write themselves.
Max Mosley has lost all credibility. Since the story broke, the man has been uninvited left, right and centre. Uninvited from Bahrain. Uninvited from Israel. Uninvited from Spain. Unwelcome in Monaco. Meeting after meeting cancelled. This is a man who is patently unfit to do his job any more — and he knows it himself as he has offered to leave all public representation to his deputies.
He might have won the vote, but the FIA is like a banana republic. The credible voices are opposed to him. And no dodgy confidence vote victory will restore Mosley’s credibility. Will governments now be eager to start meeting him again all of a sudden? Will the royal families of Bahrain, Spain and Monaco be willing to shake his hand now? Of course not.
So where now for the FIA? As I have already suggested, it seems clear that Mosley’s decision to hang on at all costs has exacerbated or even created a conflict in F1’s corridors of power. Far from patching up any conflict, Max Mosley has worsened it. I am sure that if he resigned in the first place, a smooth transition would have been much easier to achieve than it will be now.
In Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley has created a formidable enemy. Who is to say now that the FIA will retain control over F1? In Clive’s interesting post on the future of the FIA, he suggests that we may be seeing the end of the FIA as governing body of F1. And why not?
I have thought for a very long time now that the FIA was far too strong — that it put far too much power in the hands of just one person. And the recent talks of a split between sporting and touring clubs rather suggests to me that there is no obvious reason why the sporting and road-motoring roles of the FIA really need to be dealt with together in the same organisation.
Does Formula 1 really need to be under the control of the FIA? I think not. Say what you want about Bernie Ecclestone, but if you ask me I would choose Bernie over Max any day. We may complain from time to time about Bernie Ecclestone, but at least he is not malicious in my view. Max Mosley is pure poison from top to bottom.