On 9th October 1991 Max Mosley defeated incumbent FIA President Jean Marie Balestre by 43 votes to 29. In the 16 years that have passed with Mosley at the helm the sport has changed dramatically in character.
But has it changed for the better? Has Formula 1 been efficiently and professionally managed under Mosley’s stewardship? Is 16 years simply too long for anyone, however competent, to hold this kind of office?
Sweeping regulations changes have characterised Mosley’s time as President. The first, in 1994, banned electronic driver aids such as traction control and active suspension.
After the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna further changes aimed at slowing the cars followed and making the sport safer followed. Engine sizes were cut, more demanding crash tests introduced and circuit safety was pursued with greater vigour.
More controversial changes came in 1998 with the advent of the grooved tyre & narrow track regulations. The new millennium brought even greater restrictions, with engines required to last for two races, then cut in capacity to 2.4 litre V8s and then frozen in specification for three years.
Mosley’s relations with the teams and disputes over the future direction of the sport have frequently spilled out into the public domain. Many felt he could have done more to prevent the debacle at Indianapolis in 2005 when only six cars participated in the race.
Lately his stance on the future direction of Formula 1 has been the subject of intense debate. Mosley wants to see greater use of environmentally-friendly technologies in F1 and fully intends to use the rule book to mandate it.
Of course, Mosley’s remit within the FIA goes far beyond just looking after Formula 1. But, for the purposes of this debate, has Mosley’s tenure as President been on the whole good or bad for the sport?
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