Fernando Alonso, Renault, Interlagos, 2005, 470150

Ron Dennis and Max Mosley have never been the best of friends. Mosley once said of Dennis:

Ron has no role in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship apart from that granted him, in common with other teams, by the Concorde Agreement. Unfortunately he find all this rather difficult to understand.

Several years later, and having only recently deflected suggestions he himself was about to resign, I suspect Dennis is quietly enjoying the significant but indirect role McLaren has played in bringing the Mosley presidency to the brink of its demise.

The first domino

In 2005 the CEO of Renault and Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, was taking his time over whether to commit his team to a long-term future in Formula 1.

This made his star driver Fernando Alonso uneasy. Even as he raced his R25 to victory in the championship he was privately becoming concerned that the team he had been with for four years wouldn’t be around very much longer.

And so when he finished third in the Brazilian Grand Prix behind the two McLarens, and by doing so claiming the drivers’ championship, he mentioned in passing to Dennis that he should like to drive for the team one day.

This suited Dennis perfectly. Late in 2005 he must have already been wondering about the long-term future of his new signing for the team, Juan Pablo Montoya, who had missed several races early in the year due to a non-racing injury.

And he must also have suspected that Ferrari were making overtures to his other driver Kimi Raikkonen, about joining their team. And now the new champion was offering to drive for him. He probably couldn’t have got his pen out quickly enough, and two months later the deal was announced.

The first domino had fallen in a chain of events leading to the crisis that now engulfs the president of the FIA.

It all goes wrong for McLaren

To Dennis, having Alonso join the team in 2007 was perfect. He could pair the multiple race-winning champion with the rookie Lewis Hamilton. Dennis’s protege had romped to the Formula Three Euroseries title in 2005 and claimed the GP2 championship the following year.

But as we all know, it didn’t quite work out that way. Not only did Hamilton and Alonso fall out in spectacular fashion, but McLaren found themselves facing an investigation into whether they had used information gleaned illegally for Ferrari.

Mosley pursued the case with his trademark vigour – but to some his effort to prosecute McLaren looked less like justice and more like the execution of a personal grudge.

Martin Brundle, a McLaren driver in 1994, described the investigation as a “witch hunt” in a column for the Sunday Times. A fuming Mosley asked the FIA to begin a legal action against the newspaper, which they agreed to in December last year.

The Mosley scandal

Last week, Mosley found himself explaining to a shocked world why the News of the World had published a story alleging that he had participated in a Nazi-themed bondage session with a number of prostitutes.

Many have drawn a connection between the FIA’s lawsuit agains the Sunday Times, and the News of the World expose, as both are owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

The F1 world is now waiting to see if Mosley jumps from his position as president before he is (surely inevitably) pushed by the FIA Senate.

Meanwhile I suspect Dennis is not too distressed that one of the dominos that fell when his team were fined $100m by Mosley last year may now topple the president.

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51 comments on Dominoes

  1. Gman said on 8th April 2008, 22:47

    Green Flag, unless someone shows me unquestioned evidence that Ron approved the wrongful events that occured involving the thieft of Ferrari data, I don’t buy his involvement. Ron is the key figure at McLaren, but that dosen;t mean he has his finger on every little thing that flies from every laptop at Woking.

    As for the German links, anyone with even the most basic education in history would link Max’s role-playing to a concentration camp when viewing the video, and that can seriously offend many people- German, Jewish or otherwise. We are all entitled to our own opinions, and I respct those who disagree with me, but I believe Max was way out of line on this one.

  2. Wibble said on 8th April 2008, 22:48

    Green Flag, I just wondered how long you have worked for Ron/McLaren, or how long you have known him personally?  Quite possibly not as long as me, so try to phrase your "beliefs" as such rather than claiming them as fact.

    Becken, you make an interesting point, although I doubt much will happen to Max and suspect he will try desperately to cling on to his position.  This will be in spite of the likelihood of more embarrassing "we don’t want you here" calls from circuits.

    As for the other comments regarding no moral/social obligation for the President of the FIA.  Can I suggest researching Corporate Social Responsibility in particular aspects that refer to those who head up global organisations.  It should not be forgotten that whilst certain countries have no issue with Max’s behaviour, the FIA also includes far more conservative countries who do have an issue with it.

  3. Sorry to continue the debate Green Flag, but it was Max who elevated himself as the moral Grand Poobah of the FIA. He as much said so in his "witch hunt" defense of his zealous pursuit of McLaren. It didn’t matter to Max what the facts were, he was going to administer a spanking to Ron and McLaren no matter what. The punishment did not fit the crime

    Should the FIA president have a sound moral background, and a character that can be trusted? Or should we find any old sod on the street, as long as he keeps it private? The two faced S.O.B. is indefensible and should have the common sense to slink off into the night, for his own good if not the sport’s.

    Sorry for the rant, I’m feeling much better now!!!

  4. Leslie said on 8th April 2008, 23:21

    Guys, suggest you look at

  5. Green Flag said on 8th April 2008, 23:27

    GeorgK – OK, my final, final word: The McLaren issue wasn’t just about morality – it was about McLaren trying to win the F1 championship by cheating. Yes, of course there is a moral component, but it’s much more than that. It’s about protecting the other ten teams from a team trying to gain an unfair advantage. I believe their punishment was correct, even lenient. McLaren ought to have been suspended for a few years, as an example to other would-be cheaters. Max Mosley didn’t want McLaren thrown out, and wisely imposed an affordable, if painful, monetary penalty.  Now that Max has problems, Mosley-haters and McLaren supporters (basically the same folks) are falling about with glee and calling for his removal. The difference is, Max made a mistake one night, McLaren systematically went about plundering another team’s intellectual property.

  6. Green Flag, you seem be a lone voice on Mosley’s side. Unfortunately for him, his position is indefensible, and so yours seems to be as well:

    1. What Max did may not have been illegal, but it is by most societal standards immoral (not prostitution, but beating women dressed as concentration camp inmates). By fining McLaren for bringing the sport into disrepute, Max claimed the moral high ground. He has certainly tumbled from that great height. Hypocrisy in it’s purest form. Can no longer lead because he no longer has anyone’s respect.

    2. The prostitutes were told to expect a "Nazi theme" and he was examined for lice. What isn’t WWII German about that? Wrong again.

    3. Here you show your bias against Ron Dennis. I have never shied away from expressing my bias against Mosley, but that is because his behavior is not unlike his father’s: fascistic. Ron is a man of integrity, he walks his talk, and if he said he didn’t know the extent of the Ferrari leak, then that is so. Ferrari, of course, are historically the worst offenders of this type of behavior, and Max has always favoured them. More hypocrisy.

    McLaren didn’t try to win the championship by cheating. A quick refresher for you: a disgruntled Ferrari employee gave some information to a McLaren employee that was also thinking of leaving. Evidence shows that some people int he team knew about the data. Proof that Dennis didn’t know the extent of it was that he contacted Max when Alonso tried to blackmail him, telling him he didn’t believe it to be true.

    And if you believe that McLaren’s punishment was lenient,  here’s a little perspective: Network Rail in Britain was fined 4 million pounds for an accident that killed 31 and injured 400. How does your $100 million leniency look now?

    Max couldn’t have thrown them out, so he did as much vindictive damage as he could. Ron, with much bigger shoulders, kept his lip buttoned and got on with the job of racing. Max haters andMcLaren supporters are not the same folks, but I will admit, my opinion of Ron Dennis and how he handled last year has gone up as high as my opinion of Max has gone down. I didn’t think my view of him could actually get lower. He is dying by the sword in the forum he chose to fight in. Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out, Max.

  7. Posted by Green Flag "Mosely is not the "leading moral adjudicator" of anything. The FIA, and its president, make and enforce rules for motor racing, that’s all. Morality, ethics, social behavior are not and should not be the purview of the FIA."

    How do you explain the Racing Against Racsim campaign then? Mad Max self-appointed himself to spearhead that, so then how can he claim to hold the high moral ground over anyone else?

    Of course he is delusional, but any rational person will see he cannot, and should not even attempt to.

  8. Nice one, Pinky.

  9. Green Flag said on 9th April 2008, 1:06

    Thank you, Arnet. You make my case perfectly. Deep thinker. McLaren good, Mosely bad, Ferrari evil.  And a whole lot of  nonsense to back it up.  You believe what you believe and nothing can sway you. You’ll get your way, of course, the wild-eyed mob always does, and reason is flung aside; Mosely will be forced to leave. 

  10. Reason and logic and-god forbid-deep thinking seems to me to be the approach that the community in general is taking.  If the points that I used in my response, which are actually generally accepted truths, appear to you to be nonsense,  I applaud your standing by your position, however tenuous it may be.  You may find, when the smoke has cleared, and history is written, that Max Mosley did more for road safety than he did for the fans of F1 and he was already becoming an extremely unpopular person in F1 circles. This latest is just a reveal of who the man is and why he talks and acts the way he does. He is a dishonest person and a man in his position needs to be seen to have integrity. Not being in Bernie’s pocket would help too…….

    You clearly feel that the criticism of him is unjust, but you are certainly amongst a minority against the "wild-eyed mob." To your last point: Mosley should have left immediately. He is harming the sport and his "being forced to leave" will cost between 1 and 2 million pounds to transport and accommodate those with a vote from around the world, money that will be wasted and could be better spent in other areas. So far, the only person who seems to be on your team is Bernie. Well that should tell you something.

  11. Green Flag said on 9th April 2008, 2:04

    Arnet – I agree, Max should have retired a long time ago. But he shouldn’t have to go just because he was found in some tart’s boudoir or doing something kinky; half of F1 would likely have to leave the sport if that’s the standard. And if you have an open mind, then you have agree that he did a very good job of running the FIA and F1 in particular. Here’s why: F1 has never in its history been more popular, with more money, sponsors, races, TV viewerships; safety has never been better – not a fatality in 14 years – yet lap times are faster.  All the BS about no overtaking is just that, BS. In the great Jim Clark years Jimmy used lead most races from pole to flag, that was regarded as wonderful, today it’s boring. You can’t blame Max for that. Under Max’s watch F1 has flourished, become stronger. I’m not saying no-one else could not have done better, but he did bloody well. So he recently screwed up in his personal life. So what? You’re perfect?  Trouble with mobs is that everyone’s too darn scared to say something different in case they get attacked, so everyone gets in line and tries to throw a bigger stone.

  12. Number 38 said on 9th April 2008, 2:05

    Someone ought to BLACK flag the GREEN flag. That poor boy is as out of touch as MadMax.  And we all ought to read Paul Stoddart’s artcle on  I raise a pint for Stoddy.

  13. Gman said on 9th April 2008, 4:03

    Green Flag, although i’m new to the sport, I can understand that Max has played a part in many key developments that have improved things such as driver safety and speed/lap timing. Anyone who has been in his position for that lenght of time should have accomplished something, and although I can’t say exactly what he did and did not influence in a positive way, I salute the good work he has done for the sport.

    The problem many of us have is that his behavior has exposed attitudes and desires in him that are reflective of discriminatory/offensive mindsets that Max apparently posesses. I understand that many people involved in the sport have found pleasure in kinky/risque acts. But in this case, the fantasies Max was acting out were simulating acts involved with the murdurs of millions of innocent people who were slaughtered for their ethnic ties and religious beliefs. And many people believe that the leader of something such as the FIA- which represents the interests of people worldwide- should not posess such attitudes and beliefs.

    While I can’t speak for the others on here, I respect your opinion and have not meant to argue over anything. I think most of us just don’t want to see attitudes such as this on display by the most powerful man in the world of motorsports. When a situation such as this comes up, I feel that is in the best interests of both Max and the world of motorsports if he steps down. He’s only going to keep losing credability, and the longer it drags out the more it will detract from the racing that we all love to see.

  14. Green Flag, no, I’m not perfect. In fact I’m also a bit kinky, but I don’t present myself as the model of virtue, which, in his "witch hunt" of McLaren, Max has done. I cannot argue that Max has done much for safety, but in terms of advancing the sport, he has done more to hinder it than to improve competition. In terms of more money and markets, that’s Ecclestone’s purview. Bernie put Max where he is in order to execute his designs on profit and control. Max is Bernie’s tool. He is a man who, much like the current President of the US, seems to wish to re-invent his father’s record. In the beginning, people buy into the illusion, but after time, we see the illusion for what it is, and expect more from the person who claims to be a champion of values and integrity. In the end, the principal character is exposed for the puppet he is, and the chickens come home to roost.

    As we mature, we know ourselves not so much by what we know what we are, but what we eliminate what we are not. Clearly, Max has not been able to what he is by eliminating what he probably should have seen as something to put into the category of what one is not. Now we see what he has allowed himself to continue to be.  Which is a reprehensible and hypocritical individual. Leadership inspires and guides. This particular individual has relinquished his ability to do either. ‘Nuff said.

  15. It doesn’t matter what Max did, it’s the fact that it’s detracting from the sport and giving it a bad name. He could toture puppies for a hobby but as long as it didn’t reflect badly on the sport then it wouldn’t be a problem.

    The fact is that for most of the population, S&M with German outfits and accents isn’t an acceptable hobby for a public figure to induldge in.  The press are taking an interest in it, we’re all talking about it rather than the sport and it’s detracting from the sport.

    Therefore he must go.

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