Mosley gives a weak defence

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Max Mosley, Red Bull, 2006, 270150

Max Mosley has given an interview to the Sunday Telegraph – whose F1 correspondent Kevin Garside was just about the only journalist to stick up for the FIA President following the sex scandal story in the News of the World. Mosley made his position on the matter quite clear:

I think what happens is they think ‘what can we get at him, ah yes, we can say he’s this Nazi. Is there any basis for Nazism? Not really, but we can kind of invent something and then focus on the family name.’ The whole thing was quite deliberate from that point of view because it adds to the story.

He continued to insist that the majority of people within the FIA support him, despite very few having said so in public.

For every letter I’ve had from a club president saying ‘I think you should step down’ or ‘I think you should consider your position’, I’ve had seven, slightly more than seven, who said ‘you’ve absolutely got to stay, don’t give an inch’, and ‘this is the most outrageous invasion’, and suggesting that there’s more to this than meets the eye, which of course there may be.

Mosley was dismissive of the criticism saying:

None of the heavyweights have said anything, the people who really are the opinion formers in Formula 1. There’s a few ex-drivers.

Which is simply not true. Are BMW, Mercedes, Toyota and Honda not heavyweights? Is Mark Webber an ex-driver?

The Nazi angle is irrelevant

It’s becoming clear that there are two key matters that lie at the heart of the whole sordid debate.

The first is the ‘Nazi’ thing which, as I wrote in my very first post on the subject, seems like a dubious connection as it is one that British tabloids are fixated with.

If Mosley does have as many supporters as he claims to I think they’re standing by him because they don’t believe the Nazi angle.

But even if the Nazi thing isn’t true, the News of the World have given Mosley more than rope to hang himself with, and he’s grasped it with both hands.

The fall

That’s because of the second point: the President of the FIA has been revealed to be someone who gets a sexual thrill out of punishing people. Last year he levied an unprecedented fine against a team led by a man who we know Mosley does not like.

Can we honestly now say with any confidence that Mosley handed out that punishment because he thought it was the correct thing to do and not because he got a kick out of doing it?

What about when Eddie Irvine appealed against a one-race ban in 1994 and it suddenly became a three-race ban – a move that stunned many in the sport? What about Toyota’s expulsion from the World Rally Championship in 1995?

These were all controversial cases that led to severe punishments. The FIA president must be able to hand out these kinds of punishments when they are deserved. What we now know about Mosley makes it impossible to believe he can act with impartiality in these matters.

The moral argument

Mosley is trying to make the debate all about the ‘Nazi’ element and ignore the wider question of whether you can be considered a fair judge when you admit to being sexually aroused by administering punishment.

The reason he’s doing that is because the meeting on June 3rd to decide his future will surely have a lot to say about this clasue:

According to Article 27 of the Statutes of the FIA:

The World Motor Sport Council may directly impose the sanctions provided for in the International Sporting Code, and where appropriate the World Council for Automobile Mobility and Tourism may impose fines on or demand the exclusion from FIA bodies or international sporting events of licence holders, executive officers or members of ASNs or ACNs:

5) who by words, deeds or writings have inflicted moral injury and loss on the FIA, a World Council, their Members or their executive officers.

By focussing on the ‘Nazi’ part of the revelations he is trying to distract attention away from the heart of the matter – the real reason why he can’t stay in his job any more, and why every day that passes with him still in that role damages F1 even more.

NB. I’m sure you’re all as sick of this sordid story as I am – I’ve got some ‘proper’ posts on the way shortly.