You might be wondering why I’ve taken so long to respond to the sordid allegations about Max Mosley’s private life in today’s News of the World.
Well, first of all, I’ve been at Brands Hatch watching the touring cars all day! But more importantly, this is a shocking story and I thought it wise to take time over my response.
Although other British newspapers have quickly picked up the story, the silence on the major F1 news sites is deafening. At the time of writing Autosport.com, Pitpass.com, Grandprix.com, Crash.net and many others have not mentioned it.
It’s all over the forums and blogs, of course. The Times’s writer Ed Gorman asks if Mosely can survive, Ollie at BlogF1 expects fall-out for either Mosley or the News of the World and Axis asks if it’s linked to McLaren being moved down the pit lane (hmm…).
Shortly after the story was published the link to it on the News of the World’s website stopped working, suggesting it had been taken down. However it is now available once again.
There’s not much to be added to the story until a confession or denial is issued. I can’t claim to be an expert on assessing whether videos and photographs have been faked or not.
The News of the World’s story makes a lot of references to ‘Nazi-style’ behaviour, but it’s not clear from the evidence whether that’s actually an accurate description. British tabloids do like to link anything even remotely unseemly with Nazism, as the Daily Star did with the Lewis Hamilton racism story. Given the fascist past of Mosley’s family, it’s an obvious connection to make.
But even the the ‘Nazi’ angle is fantasy, the other details (assuming they are true) will be considered by many to be sufficiently unpleasant to make Mosley’s position untenable.
The News of the World is owned by News Corporation, which is the parent company of the Sunday Times. That newspaper faces a lawsuit instigated by Mosley following Martin Brundle’s reportage of the McLaren-Ferrari spy scandal. The News of the World is known for running such exposes including a series of scoops landed by Mazher Mahmood (the ‘Fake Sheikh‘).
It’s important to remember that at this stage nothing has been proved. But as last year McLaren were thrown out of the constructors’ championship for breaching article 151 (c) of the International Sporting Code (“acts prejudicial [...] to the interests of motor sport generally”), then even though this rule does not apply to Mosley, the principle should.
In the meantime he is understood to be consulting his lawyers. Check back for further updates as the story develops.