Mosley gives a weak defence

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.

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100 comments on Mosley gives a weak defence

  1. Rohan said on 20th April 2008, 18:08

    Keith, yeah that was a rough guess, but it’s pretty safe to say that much of the population are into bondage of some form or other (although maybe not to the punishment-extent that Max is).

    On a different note, I’d like to point out that while I disagree with you on this particular issue, your blog as a whole is an excellent one and certainly rivals other, more "news orientated", websites :)

  2. Rabi said on 20th April 2008, 18:12

    Keith I think what Alianora was trying to say is that if you challenge the lie with immediate effect and give a truthful (or something that makes what you did acceptable) version of events then your PR image is saved somewhat. It still takes a hit but it isn’t obliterated like what has happened now.

    Think of it this way if a driver deliberately crashes into another and when asked about it, they stay silent what would you assume happened? This situation is no different, had Max made a challenge instantly then it wouldn’t have escalated to what it is now. And had his reponse been a lie as long as he got away with it, and it’s been done before by others, the mainstream media wouldn’t have jumped all over it.

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th April 2008, 18:15

    I see what you mean Rabi. And Rohan, of course you don’t have to agree with everything I write. Just most things… :-)

  4. @ Fireblade – the best thing about blogs is that they express the opinions of those who write them. I may not always agree with what blogger writes but I love reading blogs especially because what is there is personal and not tied up by any company policy …

  5. I don’t really get this argument at all.

    In the video, Max was on the receiving end of a fair amount of punishment himself – how do you want to tie that into his professional life?

    He clearly enjoys taking as much as giving, so if you associate the giving punishment side of things to his working life then surely there must be an association there with the taking side as well?

    Just because someone enjoys something in their private life doesn’t mean he simply must look for that same enjoyment through his work – you may be right and punishing McLaren last year really did turn Max on, but you no more know that to be right than I know it to be wrong.

    For sure Max and Ron don’t get along, so Max would no doubt have found some pleasure in dishing out that particular punishment but to put it on a par with an evening spent with 5 prostitutes appears to me to be taking things a step too far.

    I still think Max should have gone as soon as this whole story emerged, but I think as time passes by and the whole sordid affair is being twisted one way and another to fit various people’s agendas (mainly the NOTW, Times etc) then I think the main focus is switching away from the actual facts and more into speculation.

    Let’s hope the Max saga dies down a bit, and we have 6 weeks or so which are filled with F1 for a change!

  6. Fireblade said on 20th April 2008, 18:32

    To Keith:You could have printed the link…but you wanted to impose a certain point of view.It is very obvious that u take the Mosley scandal very personal for whatever reason..

    and why didn’t u comment on the following:
    Filming is not legalized and this is a point which i did really miss in this forum.What i drink/eat/ religion I believe in and who I sleep with is of no one’s business.Period!

  7. Robert McKay said on 20th April 2008, 18:32

    "Let’s hope the Max saga dies down a bit, and we have 6 weeks or so which are filled with F1 for a change!"

    Oh god, wouldn’t that be nice. One can only dream.

  8. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th April 2008, 18:45

    Fireblade I think it’s obvious to most people why I didn’t link to the Pitpass story – because I linked to the original story instead. Can you explain what value you see in linking to a secondary article when I can link to the primary one?

    I don’t know why you say I take the Mosley story ‘personal’ – it’s nothing to do with me at all, except that I’m interested in F1 and write an F1 blog so – guess what – I’m going to write about it!

    I assume based on what you’re written that you don’t think Mosley should step down. That’s fine I have no problem with anyone holding that opinion and there are plenty of people to disagree with me (see above and elsewhere). But perhaps if you explained why you think that instead of constantly having a go at me I’d be more inclined to listen to you.

    As for the filming thing – maybe it’s legal, maybe it’s not, but I suspect the court case will decide.

  9. Fireblade said on 20th April 2008, 19:29

    To Keith:
    -I would liked if you have criticized a professional act Mosley did…but u attacked a aspect of his personal life!
    -The filming is completely illegal….as I asked u before and u ignored the remark it for whatever reason:
    "So i really don’t know how would u look like getting caught with a prostitute giving u a …job and filmed and published and I am 100% that the first thing u will blame is the press and will never blame yourself…I smell double-standard fumes…"

    Can u answer the stuff?

  10. Dave Jones said on 20th April 2008, 20:18

    what I want to know is, is why is the vote to decide Mosley’s future at the FIA by secret ballot?
    Is it to protect the delegates form reprisals from the FIA or is it to protect the delegates from reprisals from their own associations?

    A secret ballot will make it far easier for Mosley and Ecclestone to manipulate the results will they not?

    Should the vote be independently verified by an independent body?

    Not that we should in any way distrust the FIA and those that govern it:-))

  11. D Winn said on 20th April 2008, 20:59

    I suspect that the number of MMs’ letters of support are as credible as the lot of complaints’ he had about the McLaren garage position in Bahrain.   Ref:
    http://timesonline.typepad.com/formula_one/2008/04/the-mclaren-g-1.html

  12. Dave Jones said on 20th April 2008, 21:03

    Facts are facts and Mosley IS a pervert.
    I doubt any proper court would have imposed a 100 million dollar fine on Mclaren when there was NO proof that they did anything wrong.

  13. Lady Snowcat said on 20th April 2008, 21:12

    I am just worried that the NOTW may have managed, by printing salacious stories of private activities, which apparently have no Nazi connotations despite their suggestions of this, to effectively blackmail the WMSC into possibly sacking Max…

    The same guy who was litigating against a sister paper…

    Max was foolish and unwise in his personal life but many people are… that doesn’t make them less suited for their jobs… unless the activity is related to their job…

    If there really were no Nazi connotations why oh why is everyone quite so exercised…

    Or is it just a case of "We don’t like Max and don’t care why he’s going, he should just go!"… if so I am disappointed as that is irrational and just asks for the NOTW and other Murdoch papers to do this again, and again and again….

    That would be wrong….

    PS I am not a particular fan of Max’s but would want him ousted for the right reasons not the wrong ones…. 

  14. D Winn said on 20th April 2008, 21:23

    Fireblade Mosley will defend his position on the basis that the case against him is founded on illegally-obtained material. McLaren made a similar plea when they faced the FIA last summer after being accused of a different kind of cheating in the Stepneygate saga. The response, published by the FIA in their transcripts of the hearing, was unequivocal: "The World Council’s only concern is whether that list is accurate and truthful. We are not concerned with whether there are issues over how that is obtained. Unless there is evidence that it is forged or inaccurate, we will take it on its face value. We do not enter a debate about Italian law; we have neither the time nor the skills for that." And the author of those quotes? Yup, you guessed it, none other than Mr Max Mosley. As you say – “I smell double-standard fumes…"

  15. To be honest any reason that ousts Mosley is the right one. There have been enough "right" reasons in the past that haven’t done the job, and I think at this stage most people with rightly take any reason going.

  16. Oliver said on 20th April 2008, 21:38

    I think in the past people have been forced to resign from positions they held because they either gambled, drank or took drugs. All things that had to do with their private lives, but still felt as compromising the position they held. And in Mosley’s case, its been found that he is a sick individual. Even if "half the world" did it, that doesn’t make it the correct for of sexual stimuli. According to the story, he got turned on by inflicting pain and also receiving same, beating someone till they bled? you call that normal?

    The real issues here are not that Max had his privacy invaded, its just that he has shown his hands to be a hypocrite and a self centered individual who is oblivious to the damage he leaves around him. As I stated in a previous post some days back, if he derives pleasure from inflicting physical pain, he will also derive pleasure from inflicting emotional pain, because he is a psychopath.  His actions, have been responsible for many teams going under. Imagine if a poor team like Super Aguri really had to build their cars this year to meet the regulations, they would have wasted even more money as they will then have to build a fresh car the following year.

    All manufactures in the sport and and those wanting to come in, have always asked for a stable regulation. With a stable regulation they can plan out incremental performance steps probably over many years as it may be possible for a team to use the same cars for several years. But as it is now, a new regulation change almost certainly requires the construction of a new car or expensive modifications to an existing car. This was the same man who wanted the use of slimmer tyres  in 1995 because he felt drivers were not flying of the track and crashing, thus there was not enough spectacle.

  17. Lady Snowcat said on 20th April 2008, 21:56

    Hmmm….
    I see that the force against the guy is strong… and you believe he is from "The Dark Side"…. but I still think that on this…. you guys are not quite rational…
    And I think you’ll find it’s a case of "Be careful what you wish for…it might just happen"…. and it won’t be at all what you expect…

    But no doubt we’ll see pretty soon now…

  18. D Winn said on 20th April 2008, 22:01

    Lady Snowcat, do you imply that we may end up with TWO gnomes running F1 ?

  19. Oliver said on 20th April 2008, 22:03

    I may also want to include the Mclaren fine fiasco into this argument. The FIA (Max) had just imposed a penalty of $100 Million on Mclaren. Despite that, he still left a the possibility of inflicting further punishment on the team if the FIA at a later date discovered that Mclaren had actually used the Ferrari information. In other words, he was already looking for ways to keep punishing the team for the same offense over and over again all through the season. This was not just and issue of being right, it was hatred, and basically he could punish Mclaren and Mercedes at the same time because, he hates Ron Dennis for the fact he was a mechanic who made it into the aristocratic world, and also Mercedes were the key instigators of the GPMA or a potentially rival, car manufacters based alternative to F1. He could not resist the opportunity to inflict pain on both parties. Not saying the Renualt allegation was base less, but he was almost apologetic in dismissing the case against Renualt, without first hearing evidence.

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