Ron Dennis speaks, Max Mosley sues

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

I’m officially sick of the Max Mosley thing. He claims to have, “received a very large number of messages of sympathy and support from those within the FIA and the motor sport and motoring communities.”

Well since then BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, the German and Dutch motor sports organisations and many individuals including former champions Jody Scheckter and Jackie Stewart have criticised him. Cristian Horner and Stefano Domenicali awkwardly ducked questions about him in today’s press conference.

Number of people publicly sticking up for Mosley: zero.

According to The Times’s Ed Gorman, “[Mosley] has ‘lost’ the Formula One paddock and he has certainly ‘lost’ the press room.” I don’t doubt that’s true, but what I’d really like to read on Ed’s blog is his thoughts on his employer’s role in all this.

I asked a friend of mine who has worked for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation whether it was likely their revelations about Mosley in the News of the World was a response to the FIA’s decision to sue The Sunday Times (because of Martin Brundle’s columns on McLaren and Ferrari).

He chuckled at my naivete in even asking the question. Of course that’s what happened…

Given that, how should we assess Mosley’s chances of success in his new lawsuit against the News of the World? Not well, I should think.

I do not see how Mosley can survive this without causing yet further harm to F1’s reputation. And as he thrashes around looking for someone to blame other than himself the public image of the sport he represents is being dragged through the mud.

For the perfect example of the kind of ridicule Mosley has brought upon the sport, turn to the sublime Sniff Petrol.

From a man who’s gone down in my estimations to one who’s risen in my esteem: Ron Dennis.

Motor Sport published in full his speech to the Motor Sport Business Forum and you can read it here. For a man who is often lambasted for his clumsy phrases, it’s an attractively phrased speech and apparently it earned him a round of applause.

I may not agree with him when he says 20 races a year is a “a natural logistical limit,” or that budget caps are a good idea (Pandora’s Box, mark my words), but I’ve never heard Dennis sound so eloquent, appreciative and understanding of the sport.

Almost… Presidential.

42 comments on “Ron Dennis speaks, Max Mosley sues”

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  1. That would be the ultimate irony, for Ron to succeed Max.  Pity it’ll never happen.

    What annoys me about Mosley’s lawsuit is that it’s just a part of his delaying tactics.  The manufacturers call for an immediate response from the FIA – Max calls an EGM that he knows cannot happen for at least 6 weeks and pretends that this is the FIA’s response.  The stupid delegates fall for it, apparently, although some are waking up now and calling for his resignation with immediate effect.

    Max sets the agenda for the meeting and says it is to explain to the delegates all about how he is suing NOTW.  Not a word about a vote of confidence or anything like that.  It’s a blind, a ploy, and the interested parties must surely realise that.

    The lawsuit is purely to demonstrate to the FIA that he is doing as he said he would – but it’s meaningless, purely a personal matter between him and NOTW.  In the unlikely event he wins (Bernie doesn’t think he can), he will have established that NOTW were very naughty to invade his privacy.  Big deal.  The facts of the matter and the reason for people calling for Max’s resignation – his little five-hour entertainment with ladies of the night dressed in Nazi-like coats and concentration camp pyjamas – will still not have been addressed.

    Clearly, the man is guilty of everything printed in the NOTW story and he cannot continue to represent the FIA.  He must resign now, not when he feels like it.  Watch the pressure mount in the next few days as more and more organizations demand he step down.

  2. LOL, it was almost naive to ask that question. What should we think of Mosley, as he believes it was McLaren in stead of RM’s News Corporation.

    Finally Ron’s speech catched attention. Nah, Ron won’t be interested in leading FIA, he just want the best for F1, want more and more people to be interested in F1.

    BTW if you guys never realized it before, I want to say Ron is huge motorsport fan just like you and I.  (that’s why I become a McLaren fan. )

  3. completely agree with you, keith.  officially sick of it and it’s not even the end of the week. what this will feel like in  3 or 4 months if the old goat does manage to drag it out i shudder to think. 

    i find myself thinking we aren’t even well into the season and already there is a new controversy that is taking most of the thunder from this series.  did max not actually notice what the whole ferrari/mclaren/alonso/hamilton/who actually won the championship-oh, lets’ wait a month or two to see, et al sideshow did to last season? 

    ron was my first choice, too. don’t love him, don’t hate him but i think he’d just about do.

  4. Had time to read Ron’s speech now.  He is excellent and clearly passionate about F1 and its future.  My respect for Ron grew throughout the the Ferrari documents fiasco of 2007 and it is wonderful to see that he has emerged in 2008 still not bitter, not seeking revenge and retaining such a definite vision of the future.

    Not bad for a mechanic.

  5. Dennis for President?  Interesting idea but I’d have to say that’s the last thing motorsport needs.  First of all let me say that I am a McLaren and Dennis fan.  I still think they were hard done by in 2007 and have a lot of respect for Dennis.

    Having said that I think it would be a disaster for him to become President and here’s why:  We’ve just endured many years of having an FIA president who has, rightly or wrongly (the answer is rightly but that’s not important right now), been perceived as having a bias towards Ferrari and against  other teams, namely McLaren.  We’ve had enough of that.  What is required is both impartiality and, this is key, the appearance of impartiality.  Dennis can provide the former but not the latter and Todt wouldn’t fair any better.

    I would go further to say that the next president should be someone who has never worked for any of the teams they will govern.  Shocking?  The FIA president is very powerful and ultimately acts as a referee for the sport.  Therefore I would argue that he cannot have ever ‘played’ for the teams he governs.  After all, the referees in football are rarely ex United or Chelsea players now are they?

    Let the rules be decided by the relevant bodies and then be adjudicated by someone impartial, perhaps, shockingly, someone who doesn’t even like motorsport. 

    At least then we could finally have the impartial governance the sport requires.

  6. richdaddyracing
    4th April 2008, 23:19

    So I was right! Like it said in that bad Star Wars film, "there’s always a bigger fish". Max has had his a*se bitten by a real whopper. Now, Dennis for president? Yes please. You need boring, sensible people to run things, and RD is both. When he specced his own personal Macca F1 road car back in the 90’s, he had it painted brown – Executive Brown, to be exact. Tells you all you need to know about the man I reckon. But somehow I think Ferrari Internal Affairs might have something to say about that, so I wouldn’t bet on it. Todt is the one who will get it, I’m sure. Course when an FIA official is caught trying to offload a dossier of secret plans to turn Silverstone into a shopping centre then he’ll know the right course of action; fine the recipient, even if he doesn’t know he has them!Bring on some racing – and Sundays NOTW….

  7. are reporting that the AAA have now come out against Mosley. Between North America, Germany and Holland that works out in excess of 65m members against him.

    Agree that I’m bored of it already. The sooner he submits to the inevitable, the better.

  8. Just found a brilliant quote from a Bernie interview in the Mail during February:

    "He [Bernie] asks me if I know what is really wrong with Formula One? Before I can reply, he declares: "There are not enough sex scandals.""

    I sometimes wonder if Bernie knows whats in the post before the postman gets to the door!

  9. Robert McKay
    5th April 2008, 0:07

    It’s not much, I know, but I WILL stand up for Mosely on this, well, kind of. I feel sympathy for him. What he gets up to in his private life is his decision. I don’t give two hoots. It only stops him doing his job if/because people want it to, as they see a prime opportunity to get rid of him. The "Nazi" connotations of what he got up to (I’ve not seen any pictures/video, don’t want/need to, so am relying on the tabloids to tell me this) are not good, but I don’t think that makes him a racist or a fascist or a Nazi and anyone that claims otherwise can use their powers of telepathy on the rest of the F1 circus and tell us what they are thinking.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like what Mosely has done for F1. He’s taken it in totally the wrong direction, the product is overall not as good as it was 10 years ago, the sport is doing too many things wrong in my view. Additionally, he runs the sport in entirely the wrong way, because he’s become arrogant and corrupted by the power. I want Max out because of THOSE things, not what he gets up to in his private life. What are we going to do, start going through everyone’s private lives in F1, see what they get up to, demand their resignations? Not many people will get up to what Max does, but I’ll guarantee there’s not many whiter-than-whites out there either. THAT’s a bit too Gestapo for me.

    It’s the grubby tabloids (there’s plenty more than the one who broke the story) who are the real losers here: plenty of news in the world to investigate, but they’d rather rake through people’s private lives. Maybe Max had it coming, because they dared to print something he originally didn’t like, and he threw his toys out of the pram, so they retaliated. They are as bad as each other. But stooping to the personal level is too far.

    P.S. Keith, you asked pre-season what word we’d be adding "-gate" to; I think we have our answer. Nazi-gate.

  10. The head of the team convicted stealing competitors secrets to become the head of the FIA?Interesting theory. In the mean time Kimi stood up for Mosley:  "It’s his personal life and he can do whatever he wants and it’s not really my business or anyone else’s to put their noses in."

  11. The question is does this impinge on his ability to do the job. The answer has to be yes (he was disinvited for the Bahrain GP this weekend — that is unheard off). He can no longer show moral leadership to the FIA. He cannot credibly lead the fight against racism — he has to go.

    Rob — I have to disagree with you on this. I live in South Africa, and we all know about the gloomy past of that country. If I held mock KKK ceremonies behind closed doors would I then have any right to preach about equal rights? No — i’d look like a stupid hypocrite. I might be able to get away with it but I shouldn’t be able to.  In my view the Nazi issues IS the only issue.

    Anyway, back to the question, Max is very unlikely to sue the NOTW because the UK has some of the most relaxed journalism laws in the world. I suspect we might get an injunction against anything else coming out too…

  12. It is interesting when Ron is suggested it takes no time at all for the spy stuff to be thrown at him.  Funny thing is I have seen Flavio suggested on a few sites and no-one has mentioned the Renault spying case.  I guess it shows that Max’s outrageous fine had an effect.

    Unlike most it seems I am quite happy to watch Max squirm for a couple more weeks although I expect he will be gone by Tuesday.  I have complained about him since he was made FIA president.  He came into office saying F1 needed a strong Ferrari and did his best to strengthen them.  He gave Bernie 100 years of broadcasting rights for a handful of beans and Bernie sold shares in the company that owns them for billions.

    Max in my eyes has achieved nothing good in his term of office.  He seems only to have made Bernie a lot of money and handed Ferrari championships on a plate. 

    He gets a lot of praise for his safety improvements but given that none of the FIA’s serious safety moves happened until Senna died it is hard to see how anyone can be given credit for acting at a time when not acting would have been unthinkable.  Had action been taken when Piquet or Berger hit the same unprotected wall Senna would not have died. 

    Some of his decisions have made safety a lot worse.  Tarmac run-offs to save the show being interrupted and TV companies having to overrun.  We saw today that a hard run-off doesn’t work especially with a few mm of sand on it.

    It used to be even when the racing was dull qualifying was genuinely spectacular as drivers went out on sticky tyres, no fuel and hand grenade engines.  Now we have race fuel, race tyres and engines and gearboxes that have to last multiple races.  Even the multi-race component rule which in itself is stupid is written in such a way that people can be punished for having more reliable components.

    The sooner he goes the better.  I have no doubt we will be regaled with further tales of his grubby little life on Sunday.  I would not be surprised if more than one paper has some new dirt on him.

  13. Brazilian federation and Kimi to certain extent came out in support of Mosley …

  14. Here’s Raikkonen on Mosley – perhaps not too surprising given Raikkonen’s had similar attention about his own private life. Still I think cavorting with an inflatable dolphin is rather less serious than what Mosley’s been up to. The Brazilian motor sport club has also supported him.

    Israel’s motor sport club has said he should go.

    Even Kevin Garside, who stuck up for Mosley at first, has turned on him.

  15. I agree 100% with Kimi, its nobody elses business.

  16. Robert McKay
    5th April 2008, 10:20

    I think he was "advised" not to go to Bahrain, but there is no legal reason why he could not go if he chose to. It’d be embarrassing, yes, and probably detract from the focus of the Grand Prix, but he could still have went and performed his job. Like I say, it only stops him doing his job if others let/make that be the case.

  17. Are we surprised that a Ferrari driver has backed Mosley? After all, you never know when you might need a last minute rule change to ban something on a McLaren/Renault/etc to help your team win…

  18. anyone pause to think that perhaps Bernie commissioned the spying for NOTW?
    He gets his sex scandal, and ousts Max at the same time….One could imagine him harbouring some malice if Mosley’s fantasies were known to him.

  19. I just watched the video, lol its funny and it makes him alot ‘cooler’ in my humble opionion!
    What he does in his private life is no one elses business, and as for Kimi(the ferrari driver) saying the same, its not a surprise because, Kimi seems to be only concerned with his own life. The world would be a much better place if everyone minded their own!

  20. Ron Dennis should not be anywhere near the FIA presidency – he has already shown himself to be completely untrustworthy. Besides, debating who the next president will be is rather premature seeing as Max will hopefully come through this, especially seeing how the News of the World have (like almost all journalists) made up a story to fit a video that they obtained illegally.

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