I wasn’t expecting F1’s long-standing row to be resolved today any more than I had on the many other ‘deadline days’ which have come and passed with no resolution.
But the decision from the World Motor Sports Council came remarkably swiftly: next year’s F1 championship will be run to rules broadly similar to this year. Max Mosley’s effort to impose a budget cap on the teams has failed – and he has agreed not to stand for re-election in October.
“Everyone’s won” said Mosley afterwards. But is this really anything other than a victory for FOTA – and the ultimate defeat of Mosley?
Is this outcome good for F1?
- Yes, it's good for F1 (77%)
- No, it's bad for F1 (5%)
- It's neither good or bad for F1 (7%)
- I'm not sure (10%)
Total Voters: 1,927
In the run-up to today’s meeting, Mosley reminded the WMSC:
It is for the FIA membership, and the FIA membership alone, to decide on the democratically elected leadership, not the motor industry and still less the individuals the industry employs to run its F1 teams.
Mosley is now insisting his departure was planned all along. But if that were the case, presumaly he could have ended this dispute rather sooner. He has not granted any other new concession today which could have moved the teams to abandon their plans for a rival championship.
The deal was apparently thrashed out between Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone and Luca di Montezemolo (representing FOTA) late last night. Was this the moment Mosley finally saw the writing on the wall, and chose not to remain as president of a governing body in charge of what would have been a fatally weakened F1?
Of course, it wouldn’t be Mosley without a parting shot:
As long as the teams behave themselves I will be gone. A deal is a deal and if that is not stuck to you sometimes have to reconsider things.
Whether the person who succeeds me will be more to their liking remains to be seen.
To us, three things were most important; that F1 stay F1 and not become F3, that there is no dictator, but that there was a choice of rules, agreed and not imposed; and that whoever had a team was consulted and had a voice. Mosley has announced that in October he will stand down, with an irrevocale decision, and that from now on he won’t get involved in F1.
This is a good day for Formula 1. A potentially disastrous split in the sport has been averted. The removal of Mosley opens the way for a more productive and less hostile co-operation between the teams and the sports’ governing body.
It is a victory for FOTA. But above all, a victory for Formula 1.
I’m going to be on Sky News discussing the developments between 7pm and 7.30pm this evening.