Max Mosley is wrong. The only split F1 needs is a break away from him

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Max Mosley told the FOTA teams to run their own championship
Max Mosley told the FOTA teams to run their own championship

Max Mosley has told the world that instead of reaching a compromise with the nine FOTA teams, he thinks they should leave F1:

I say to them: If you want to draw up your own rules, then you can organise your own championship. But we have the Formula 1 championship. We draw up the rules for that. We have been doing that for 60 years and we will continue doing so.

It is difficult to believe that the president of the FIA could seriously be advocating a situation where the governing body?s most successful and popular championship is split into two.

Mario Theissen claims it was Mosley?s suggestion that FOTA place a ??conditional? entry to the 2010 championship, which they did last week.

But by agitating for a split Mosley has played into FOTA?s hands. Their argument that the governance of Formula 1 needs reforming has never looked more credible than when Mosley admitted he would rather see F1 split in two than accept that he might not get everything he wants from this debate.

Unlike Mosley, FOTA have been at pains to avoid threatening a split.

Various F1 correspondents have explored the possibilities of them creating a rival championship ?ǣ many pointing to the Ferrari-backed A1 Grand Prix series as a starting point.

But FOTA has frequently stated its desire to keep its teams in F1 and reach an accommodation with the FIA and F1 owners CVC (represented by Bernie Ecclestone).

It is Mosley who has spurned compromise and failed to reach a consensus with the teams.

Some may be tempted to argue that FOTA are holding Mosley to ransom by refusing to accept his demands. I disagree.

Mosley has stated in the past that he has demanded budget capping because the present teams have refused to commit to Formula 1:

Despite my repeated requests, not a single manufacturer has given us a legally-binding undertaking that it will continue in Formula 1
Max Mosley, in a letter to Luca di Montezemolo, April 2009

The manufacturers and supporting teams are now proposing a deal to keep them in the sport until 2012. So why is Mosley talking about a split instead of sealing the deal?

How a split would destroy F1

Pause for a moment to appreciate the full gravity of what Mosley is suggesting by urging the teams to split from F1.

It would mean F1 casting FOTA?s nine teams aside. These have, in their present guises, contested 2,040 Grands Prix, winning 414 races and 55 drivers and constructors’ championships. They are a vital component of the sport, woven deep into the fabric of its history.

We would have two series ?ǣ one calling itself F1, the other containing all bar one of the teams that contested the previous F1 championship.

Drivers and circuits would be caught in the middle. One series might have Spa and Silverstone, Hamilton and Raikkonen. The other Monza and Suzuka, Alonso and Kubica. And both championships would be incomparably weaker propositions.

What of the fans? Some would follow F1. Some would follow the new championship. And many ?ǣ perhaps most ?ǣ would stop watching. The longer it took the two series to re-unify, the worse it would get.

And the same goes for the sponsors which every year pump billions into F1?s coffers.

This is not conjecture. Exactly the same thing happened with the Indy Car championship. It finally re-united last year after 14 years divided – now a pale shadow of its former glory in every respect.

The teams must stay

The FIA President is proposing a development which would rent the world?s biggest motor racing championship in two. It would do huge damage to international motor racing, perhaps irrevocably ruining it.

Max Mosley is not unaccustomed to criticism. But his failure to come to terms with the teams is a new low. He must not be allowed to drive them out of the sport.

Given a choice between keeping the nine teams, and keeping the FIA president, I’d pick the teams.

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203 comments on “Max Mosley is wrong. The only split F1 needs is a break away from him”

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  1. I think you missed that one when you did the “Things F1 should learn from USA”:

    The Champcar-IRL spit. That worked so horribly they had to re-unite 14 years later and now it’s rubbish. They truly missed the trick there. I have many magazines from that time that stated Indycar Racing as a possible rival to F1. And few years later, it went burst.

    Why Max wants to do the same?. Even if they do spit, he will end up trying to get those blokes back to F1.

    1. BTW the whole – and I mean the ENTIRE driving force behind that split was Tony George and some others wanting to have American drivers on the Podium one way or another for marketing reasons. “Foreigners” were not wanted! So they decided they’d *only run in circles and hire American drivers. Then there was a huge debate at the time as to just what constituted an “American driver”. Was it Andretti (about as Italian as you can get), or Stewart, or Mears, or Running Bear, or who? So that lasted about 5 minutes and pretty soon ppl from everywhere were back racing in irl. I liked Champ cars for their diversity, and flat out speed, and I believe Ari L still holds the absolute lap record at Indy in one, though I dont remember which.

  2. marvin guillen
    5th June 2009, 2:48

    max don`t let me smack you on the face………..please!!
    or, i`ll send old bernie to smack you!!
    don`t you know that i love all the current teams.but not you. GO USF1. viva la U.S.A

  3. This budget cap thing is a good idea, it makes the sport a lot more attractive for privateer teams, which would be great fun.

    I just think they’re going about this the wrong way. I mean, serious, 40 million pounds? Come on! According the Uli Hoeness, that can’t even buy you one of Frank Ribery’s legs, so how are you supposed run an F1 team with that kind of money? The 100 million deal seem reasonable, but will it be enough for the manufacturers? Doubt it.

    The manufacturers don’t want the cap because F1 is a major R&D and marketing tool for them, so 100 million will never be enough. There is no point questioning these corporate devils about their commitment to racing, it a business for them.

  4. (In Dumb and Dumber fashion)…. Ok shoot him!

    1. But what if he shoots him in the face?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      5th June 2009, 3:56

      Won’t do anything. If FOTA do not have the power to oust Mosley, do you really think anyone is going to listen to a bunch of fans on the internet, half of whom probably don’t even understand what is going on?

  5. MAX has goon MAXIMUM MAD




  6. This to me sounds like a man in the death throws of his career as FIA president, at odds with everybody around him. The events of last year have only emboldened his inflated self opinion about the way inwhich he is running the FIA, which has more akin to a South American junta than a sporting governing body.
    There is no way in hell that F1 will split! Bernie Ecclestone and all the teams would lose billions, and none of them are that stupid. The manner inwhich American openwheel racing collapsed in the 1990s proves beyond any doubt how pointless and damaging a split would be.
    If I were in the FIA, I would be worried! Worried about how much longer Mosley should be allowed incharge. He is clearly incapable of any proper leadership and his judgement is beyond pathetic. I am tired of looking at the past and wishing F1 was as it were ten or fifteen years ago.
    Something has to be done, drastically, to eradicate this cancer from Formula One.

  7. FOTA is trying put the old gag about the inmates running the asylum into reality, and thats not a viable business plan. Its already a dual-level sport – no one can seriously say that Toyota or Ferrari *each spending half a billion $ per year are on the same level playing field as Williams, for example.
    I dont care if we *never hear from them again. Teams that everyone thought were “too-important-to-fail” have come and gone before, and these guys are *not bigger than the sport. If they dont like the rules then go race somewhere else, I just do not care.
    And all the talk here about the fans going away is just hot air: the money is in TV these days, not in filling seats at the track.

    1. As you said the money is in tv’s, because the spectacle the existing teams FOTA attract millions of viewers. Fans will go if nine teams and famous drivers go. When schumi retired ratings fell by 25%. If 9 teams leave ratings will fall by 60%, probably more. Spain, Italy, Germany,france, asia, will turn off. Even the UK will turn of. BBC and every other networks advertising cost would need to be slashed as they can no longer gurantte 50 million people watching there network on sunday. Hence this threat is real. Without the exposure f1 is dead. Thats the real arguement behind this. Max, Bernie, and CVC knows this. No sponser wants to attached themselves to a no name team. Look at brawn, they have one 5 races and have one sponsor.

      If the top teams and drivers, the ones that you and i know and love leave what happens your interest in the sport falls. Money that bernie earns disappers over night. the financial peanlity is so huge no private team that has no funding behind can even consider filling in the gap of Ferrai, mclaren, etc etc. the only teams that have left f1 are the ones that were in it to make money. Even Paul Stoddard made money in f1.

      1. So far this year the only race to have viewing figures in the Top 30 of BBC programmes for its’ week was Bahrain (at 23rd) with 4.39 million.
        Given that`s just the top 30 BBC 1 programmes (& not even UK the top 30 UK programmes) it shows it`s pretty poor now, anyway, even with a Brit running away with the Championship.
        Going back a few years ago F1 was regularly in the top 30 (all channels)

  8. what is the cash value of F1? what are the chances of FOTA members buying out CVC’s control? minuscule, i’m sure.

    still, a FOTA-owned F1 would be a huge success for all. senior teams could buy in for full price, and vacant slots could be sold off to small, but credible, operations. the FIA would regulate (according to FOTA’s terms) and they could hire bernie to promote.

    ridiculous, i know.

  9. I suggest name FOTA-1 which will become F1 automatically. Go FOTA

  10. This is not conjecture …

    It is, until events prove you right or wrong. IndyCar is just one data point; you never know how things might have turned out if either of the split series had executed better. We can only use this one data point as a guide and a precedent. If we had lots and lots of series that split and turned out to be ghosts of their former selves, then your argument would have more weight, and maybe move beyond simple conjecture and speculation.

    Imagine your doctor using a single previous clinical case to make a diagnosis …

    You haven’t even looked at things from a financial angle – which would be more profitable and sustainable – doing a slow glide down, or a drastic cut as suggested by Mosley? An analysis of the financials of the participating companies and their vulnerabilities to renewed financial problems needs to be taken into account – this is what purportedly Mosley wants to mitigate. Look at what happened to Honda. You may conclude whatever you like, but at least do the analysis before making a judgement.

    But it’s so much easier to write up an emotional rant and state that someone is “wrong.”

    Conjecture, speculation, and prediction – that’s what this blog is turing into. Not very different from the comments.

  11. i always knew max mosley was a nutcase, but today he’s gone one step ahead and completely proved me correct. I stand vindicated. he’s completely lost in a reality forgotten land. this is the height of lunacy. no responsible head of a international organization would utter such nonsense. what does he mean by saying F1 can do without the nine teams. this is just unbelivable. he has no respect for the chair he holds. the guy must understand that the teams were the ones who put him onto the coveted chair. This is a perfect example of misuse of power & authority. This guy is hell bent upon inflicting incurable wounds on the sport. the way things are moving we might lose the sport forever. isn’t there a voluntary retirement scheme in the FIA? please this man should be kept as far away as possible from f1. first he lost his image, then he lost his son, now he is hell bent on losing the sport. it was very clear from the outset that these decisions were only of max. how can one lunatic be allowed to hold the entire sport at randsom? i’ve long ago realized that online petitions are of no use. we the average f1 fan must do something about this man. i would suggest boycotting the races, be it on the circuits,TV,internet, print media everywhere. why i say this is, the only man who i think is capable of installing some sense into max mosley is bernie. now bernie handles the commercial aspects of f1. so without “us” the average f1 fan, bernie=0, so in such a scenario, max will have to give into bernie’s demands. we all know how greedy & commercial bernie is. so there is no way bernie will put max ahead of his commercial interests. so the only way to save this sport is to completely BOYCOTT it until max gives into bernie’s demand. There is an old chinese proverb:


    so i’ve taken my first step. i’ll not be watching the turkish gp on tv. so definitely the TRP rating will go down, cuz many of my friends will be joining my boycott, we are about 600 ppl. hope ppl do the same thing. this is to bring the trp rating down. bernie always keeps blabbing tv viewers. he’s gone as far as saying that TV audiences are more important than circuit fans. so this boycott must pinch bernie in his butt. only then he’ll blink.

  12. i think max is having some physhatric disease.weekly once he is changing his words.

  13. I don’t think Mosley is seriously calling for the FOTA teams to start a breakaway series – he’s calling their bluff.

    Mosley and Ecclestone have been working for the last five years to prevent a breakaway series. Both will know precisely how damaging it would be and of course they’ve seen the terrible example of the CART/IRL split. Both also know the difficulties in organising a rival series – back in the days of FOCA, Max and Bernie successfully used it as a bluff to face off against Jean-Marie Balestre and FISA.

    Despite the bluster, the manufacturers don’t seriously want a breakaway series and Max and Bernie know it.

  14. there are just too many personal feuds going on in F1. i understand big corporations having a lot to gain or loose here. but the FIA’s authority over some area of the competition have to be considered.

    FOTA is right in wanting to be included in the rule making, especially when the changes in the rules affect their day to day operations and ultimate profitability. BUT…. the FIA, and i;m not siding with Mosley here… has been mentioning budget cuts for years now, and the steps the teams collectively have taken are not enough, and are threatening the existence of the smaller teams, not to mention the budgets are so big it’s almost impossible for new team to convince investors that it’s a sound investment.

    take Toyota, they have poured billions in 8 years and the best to show for it is pole and ZERO wins. that is not a sound investment.

    I am an advocate that F1 should ideally have unlimited funding, and restricted only to the ability of the human element (driver) and spectator safety, AKA formula X.

    But the above is not financially feasible, and even Ferrari will have a hard time justifying expenses or even affording it.

    therefore cuts should be done, and i oppose mosley’s strictness and stance, but i believe if the teams actually wanted the good of the sport rather than their individual benefits they would have got to a compromise. but this dancing around, name calling and throwing blame around is not helping either. and the Collective Ego of the FOTA alliance has proved to be Less than that of Mosley and his crew, so far

    in any case, i think that a restricted budget on all teams will lead to substantial improvements in cost effective technology and translated to a great racing formula. and the teams can be effective in that new era of formula one.

    in the end, i’m quite sure all this debacle is caused by Bernie’s reluctance to share more of the profits with the teams. at the bottom of every crisis lies politics, and that is motivated by money and greed.

    1. Ah! I’m not alone, at last another voice of reason.

    2. Toom the words right out of my mouth! ;D

    3. Sorry thats meant to read, “Took the words right out of my mouth!”

  15. What more can anyone say Keith. This lunatic needs to go NOW!

  16. I never was a big fan of Mosley, but in this case I do feel he has a point. 80 to 100 million should be enough to race 2 cars for a season with 18 races. Audi reportedly spents 70 million annually for it’s Le Mans undertaking.

    The teams were asked to be involved in the reduction of the budgets. The teams have been promising to come up cost cutting measures. What happened? The budgets have barely gone down at all. The teams did nothing!

    They had their chance, had their say, came up with zilch and then the FIA decides on it’s own. Seems perfectly reasonable to me. What’s the problem?

    So you can blame Mosly for putting this to them very last minute. However, the teams were told about the 30 million budget cap even before the 2009 season started. They did … nothing!

    Personally I feel that the car manufacturers have ruined F1. Their big budgets made it impossible for other teams to compete and they turned their drivers into PR robots.

    The teams have all claimed to step away from F1 if they don’t get their wishes granted. It’s not Mosley who came up with the idea that they would leave.

    Besides who takes Ferrari and their ridiculous “we will leave F1” claims still serious? This is the fourth time or so that they say they will leave F1 if their wishes are not met. If you keep saying that every few years, people don’t perceive it as a real threat anymore.

    Personally I do think the budget cuts are going a bit too fast. But then who am I to say which is the best way to go forward. It might not be so bad at all. The new teams are looking for manufacturing capacity and the big teams now have spare capacity. Like Wurz was reported to look into using up a big teams spare manufacturing capacity.

    Ferrari could use the extra budget to start a Le Mans adventure next to their F1 team. BMW might add a DTM team. Maybe they can use their extra factory resources for other things than just F1.

    1. Patrickl, that was absolutely spot on!

      …and a fantastic point about the spare manufacturing capacity being used/taken by the smaller teams… but more so that the manufacturers can branch into other series with their extra cash and spare capacity and give Motorsport generally a big shot in the arm.

      As much as I’m against total manufacturer dominance, if they want to market their brand what best way to do it than a three pronged attack in F1, Touring Cars & Le Mans… all to an equality set of rules with the privateer teams.

    2. If ALL the teams were to leave, and formed their own championship, I think it could be a success…. Just look at the Premier league, it split away to form it’s own league and it has become massive!

      What I am concerned about is the car manufacturers.
      Like honda, one or more of these manufacurers could leave could just up and leave without warning then there could be trouble.

      I was never a fan of manufacturers taking over teams as they are not there to race, they are there to make €€€€€€€ and lots of it.

      Anyway I’ll continue with my point.

      Ferrari – Ferrari
      Torro Rosso – Ferrari
      Mclaren – Mercedes
      Brawn – Mercedes
      Force India – Mercedes
      Red Bull – Renault
      Renault – Renault
      Toyota – Toyota
      Williams – Toyota
      BMW – BMW

      As you can see from the list the ten of the teams are supplied with engines from only five manufacturers, (I know Williams have signed up for 2010 already, I just put them in to make the point.)

      We all know how badly car sales are being hit at the moment, (I’m sure Ferrari and Mercedes are being hit also), and if the global recession does not get better any time soon, then these FIVE engine suppliers could theoretically pull out of F1 or the Premier Formula League or whatever it could be called in the future.

      So the way I see it is that F1 is being held to ransom by FIVE car manufacturers.

      Don’t get me wrong, I still watch F1, but it’s not like the old days of private teams with double-barrell names that were there to race!

  17. The sooner F1 gets shot of Mosley the better for the sport! I wish the teams would break away and get back to the fastest car wins rather than this contrived racing under the FIA’s mismanagement.

  18. Dougie and Rich are doing it tough here but we who want a racing and innovation focused perspective are not interested in the FOTA guys that are just trying to corner their market. We are interested in competition and little guys that can make good on innovation and raw talent. Right now raw talent can’t rise, even Brawn are doing it on misplaced Honda pounds.

    We want new Brabhams and Tyrrells. We don’t want Bennetons and Ferrari’s. I supported Red Bull and support Webber but I don’t support them if they run under the FOTA umbrella. So what do you guys think was the type of competitor by caste do you want to root for Brabham – Bennetton – Renault?

    1. Spot on m0tion.

      I don’t support McLaren (though I admired Ron & loved Senna) or Ferrari (though I did admire Schumi & Ross) and I certainly will NEVER support Toyota or BMW.

      I will always support Williams, who have always done it the right way. I support Brawn (because I’ve always believed in Jenson, and I admire Ross, and I believe, although they are where they are through Honda money, they will continue to run by the Williams model). I supported Minardi and Gian Carlo’s spirit, I even liked Stoddart.

      I respect the small teams that do it best with very little, and I want to see an equal competition for them and the drivers.

  19. Bigbadderboom
    5th June 2009, 11:21

    Surely the point of discussion is to raise potential outcomes, objections and interpretations as we the fans perceive things to be.
    In all of this the most dissapointing aspect for me is the total absence of any consideration for the followers of the sport. The sponsors back the sport to raise their profiles with the fans, the fans pay big money to follow the sport, the fans buy the merchandise and subscribe to the various paraphanalia and satalite industries that circle F1. These all seems to be self serving arguments from both sides, but nobody seems to be promoting the fans opinions, and that is wrong.
    The question is can the current situation be resolved? I think that question can only be answered by Mr Ecclestone, he has the most to lose, and he holds the commercial interests, so he must be the one to bring the two factions together. I only hope he has not lost his ringmaster like ability to turn the situation around. Formula 1 without Ferrari and McLaren and the teams that have changed their guises over the years would not be worth following, it would lose it’s value, and a breakaway would take a long time to establish value……everybody will lose if this comes to a head.
    There has to be compromise and I get the opinion that is what FOTA are looking to do, they want to negotiate, with FOTA we have a collection of very intelligent, smart and focused people, in the FIA we have a man obsessed with power, he is desperate to hold his seat for as long as possible. I believed initially that although his arguments are often misinformed and out of touch, he had the sports interest at heart, unfortunatley his recent comments have now changed my opinion, I’m not sure if FOTA’s demands are right but i am sure the FIA’s stance is wrong.

    1. Personally I agree with your sentiments, and I hope that my vision of an future F1 (not as Max is positioning and not as FOTA is positioning, but somewhere between) does meet those.

      However, that aside, I do feel that the FIA and FOTA are as much to blame as each other for this situation. Max has laid his cards out long ago, and FOTA sat around and finally did something when time was running it, and here we are. Both Max and FOTA have had constructive meetings and conceded on various points, but somehow this still seems to suddenly come to blows… and I think Toyota and John Howett have more to do with that than anything, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a hidden agenda to break down these talks so Toyota has a face saving way out.

      When you read his recent comments alongside Mario Thiessens comments, there does seem to be a big difference in agression and willingness to collaborate with the FIA.

      1. Bigbadderboom
        5th June 2009, 20:17

        Agreed about Toyota, I have serious reservations about their motives, Max is right to be suspicious about the manufacturers. After reading Marios comments it does seem to me that FOTA are trying to move the goalposts somewhat, Max did agree to a block entry with conditions, however now it appears those conditions were changed on submission, I find myself less inclined to sympathise with FOTA on this, they have to be careful or they will lose the fans support, and that may turn out to be key in the resolution of this dispute.

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