Battle lines are drawn on Mosley vote

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

A series of letters and new revelations in the past 24 hours has shed light on the state of play ahead of the FIA’s confidence vote on June 3rd.

Here’s a brief recap on the latest developments.

A group of 24 clubs from 22 countries wrote to Mosley urging to resign before the vote. In a letter to Mosley they criticised him for “putting personal considerations before the interests of the FIA and its member clubs”, saying:

The FIA is in a critical situation. Its image, reputation and credibility are being severely eroded. Every additional day that this situation persists, the damage increases. There is no way back. […]

We take note of the letter sent by B. Ecclestone to all member clubs, stating his support for the FIA as the sole body governing international motor sport and his willingness to continue working with the FIA, irrespective of the result of the Extraordinary General Assembly on June 3rd.

We believe that his explanations put in due perspective the state of the relationship between the FIA and the Formula 1 world, taking away relevance to many of the arguments you make in your letter to justify your continuity. We take note of his point on the importance that the FIA be led by a credible and respected president. […]

We strongly believe that the only respectable way forward for the FIA, and for yourself, is to have an orderly transition, with an immediate agreement and your commitment to step down.

The signatories to the letter were the AAA and AATA (United States), ADAC (Germany), JAF (Japan), CAA (Canada), CCB (Brazil), KNAC (The Netherlands), M (Sweden), MAK (Hungary), MEMSI (Israel), OEMTC (Austria), RACC and RACE (Spain), TCB (Belgium), TCS (Switzerland), AAS (Singapore), AL (Finland), FDM (Denmark), FFA and FFSA (France) and FIAA (India).

According to GrandPrix.com the New Zealand, Australian and South African motoring clubs have also expressed criticism of Mosley but are not signatories to the letter.

The Russian Federation of Auto Sport and Tourism (R-FAST) has also indicated its support for the position laid down in the letter. But it has indicated it will be represented at the meeting by a proxy vote from the Belarus motoring club, which in turn may not be attending because it has not paid its membership fees, depriving those against Mosley of some badly-needed votes.

The signatories to the letter may represent some of the most active motor racing nations (Britain’s MSA a notable exception) but they only account for a small proportion of the votes in the General Assembly, estimated at somewhere between 10% and 25%, even though they claim to represent around 100m motorists. A majority of voters at the Assembly (51% or more) is needed to pass a resolution against Mosley.

There is conflicting information about exactly what role abstentions may play in the vote. Writing in Autosport recently Mark Hughes understood that an abstention would be interpreted as meaning a vote of support for the president. Joe Saward writing on GrandPrix.com believes they would be counted in support of the motion, i.e. against Mosley in this case. This is obviously a very important point and if anyone could give me a definitive answer on which one is correct I’d be very grateful.

Mosley responded to the letter from the clubs in characteristically indignant fashion. He pointed out in bold letters past occasions on which some of the signatories to the letter had opposed his policies.

This has led many to the logical conclusion that what we are witnessing is a pitched battle for undecided voters ahead of the meeting on Tuesday between Mosley and his opponents.

In his letter Mosley also tried to quietly climb down from his earlier assertion that Bernie Ecclestone is trying to wrest control of F1’s regulations from the FIA. He described Ecclestone’s letter to the clubs as: “a sudden and major change in position.”

There will doubtless be further developments in this story over the coming days. I still think Mosley should resign and I still don’t believe much of what he put in his letter to the teams the other week.