I wanted to ignore the inevitable Max Mosley stuff over the Spanish Grand Prix weekend and concentrate on the racing (at least, what little there was that passed for racing).
Pressure continues to grow on the FIA president to quit with sporting bodies shunning him and the teams considering making an official statement criticising him, and most importantly, Bernie Ecclestone turning against him.
The Israel episode
While attending the inaugural Jordan on Friday Mosley received an official invite to Israel by the country’s Minister of Science, Culture and Sport, Galeb Majadle. This could have been a significant step in the rehabilitation of the president in the public eye, not least because of the claimed Nazi overtones in the notorious video.
But within a few hours of the news becoming public the Israelis issued a public statement withdrawing the invitation:
The Minister, who was not at all aware of the scandal currently surrounding Mosley’s name, would like to make it now clear that his invitation was not intended to be personal to Mosley himself but rather to the representative of the FIA as a global organization.
In any event, once the scandal was brought to the Minister’s attention, he has requested to withdraw immediately any official invitation to Mosley until the matter is reviewed more thoroughly once back in Israel.
The phase “withdraw immediately” was highlighted in the original release. Mosley stuck to his explanation:
I fully understand the Minister’s position and look forward to resuming contact with him when the News of the World’s deliberate and calculated lies have been comprehensively refuted.
But any argument that the scandal is not interfering with his ability to do his job can surely not stand up in the face of this.
The teams’ discussion
The leaders of the teams met with Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday at the Spanish Grand Prix to discuss a response to the crisis in the FIA leadership.
According to Autosport the majority of them were concerned about the consequences for F1 of the Mosley scandal, but could not agree on what statement to make about it.
Although the owners of the BMW, Mercedes, Toyota and Honda teams have made their feelings clear on the matter the teams themselves have not said anything.
According to The Times (whose reportage on the matter we should of course be wary of), “even Ecclestone has realised that the harm being done by Mosley to the image of Formula One, and the effect that it is having on sponsors, meant that something had to be done.”
Disagreement at Ferrari?
Fearrari’s former team principal Jean Todt, who has been widely tipped to succeed Mosley, unsurprisingly voiced support for him:
If you ask me if I’m happy with the actions of the president of the FIA since he’s been in office, I think he does a very good job. Therefore I hope he will have the opportunity to carry on his work for several more years.
President Luca di Montezemolo was more cautious:
I don’t like talking about other people’s personal issues. I prefer not to comment either in my name or Ferrari’s, since there are already too many censors and judges at large.
Compare and contrast
Another sex scandal has broken in the News of the World since then and the person at the centre of it could not have handled it more differently than Mosley.
Lord Laidlaw apologised and made a £1m donation to a relevant charity. Craig explains the rest in this excellent post.
The lighter side
It must be hard being a monthly print magazine in the days of 24/7 internet coverage. The latest issue of F1 Racing came out quite a while after the scandal had broken so editor Hans Seeberg decided to restrict coverage of it to just his editorial:
We think you might be a bit border of orgies too, so we’ve decided to give it all a miss and concentrate on what really matters.
A noble sentiment and I certainly empathise with their distaste for the whole affair. But would these principles have reigned if they’d had a new scoop on the story? I doubt it.
Nelson Piquet Snr, meanwhile, made light of it all:
I am very upset with him. Very upset, because he didn’t invite anyone to his party!
Is there no-one in Formula 1 who has ever had a sex party?