What has Max Mosley ever done for us?

Romans: Big on aqueducts and roads, but not budget caps

Romans: Big on aqueducts and roads, but not budget caps

All right, all right! But, apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order… what have the Romans done for us?

Like the Romans in Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian”, Max Mosley gets a fair bit of stick from F1 fans. Particularly at the moment, as he appears to have embarked on a last-gasp bid to wreck the deal that could save Formula 1.

But let’s stop, take stock of his 18 years in the job as FIA president and ask, what has he done for us? What has he got right?

Safety

Putting all the whys and wherefores to one side, there is one point about Mosley’s governance of Formula 1 that is a cast-iron certainty: he has made the sport safer.

In recent years we have seen drivers like Robert Kubica (Montreal, 2007) and Alexander Wurz (Paul Ricard testing, 2005) survive monumental accidents with barely a scratch. One shudders to think what would have happened to a driver of the eighties who, like Wurz, might have had the misfortune to strike a wall at 300kph (187mph).

Undoubtedly, much of this came as a reaction to the horrors of 1994, when we lost Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in one weekend, and other drivers such as Karl Wendlinger and Pedro Lamy suffered huge crashes which exceeded the limits of what the cars and circuits could safely contain.

If Mosley’s zeal for ramming through unpopular regulations against the teams’ wishes has ever served the sport well, it did in 1994, when he forced quick changes to the cars to cut speeds and improve safety.

Quality of competition

Max Mosley was elected to the FIA presidency in 1991. That year began with 34 cars from 18 teams on the grid.

Today we have ten teams and 20 cars And, if Mosley succeeds in alienating the eight FOTA teams from next year’s championship, only five teams are currently slated to appear

The quantity of teams has clearly declined. But the quality of those entries has improved: last year nine of the ten teams scored a podium finish, in 1991 it was six. There were five different winners in 2008, three in 1991.

Significantly, this ‘quality over quantity’ scenario was Mosley’s goal from the outset. To this end, new teams had to lodge a $48m bond with the FIA merely to enter the championship, and only the top ten teams in a championship were entitled to receive travel money from FOM.

However the other consequence of this has been F1 bringing meagre grids to races for around a decade and a half. For a long time Mosley has shown no interest in fixing this.

Now that he has done, we could potentially see up to 13 teams in F1 next year. Ironically, that scenario now seems to be contingent upon Mosley stepping aside.

Calendar

Although it is Bernie Ecclestone’s responsibility to sign deals with race promoters, it is down to the FIA to sign off the calendar. Here is it how it has changed since 1991:

Lost

Phoenix, United States
San Marino, Italy
Montreal, Canada
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City
Silverstone, Great Britain*
Estoril, Portugal
Adelaide, Australia
Magny-Cours, France

Added and lost

Kyalami, South Africa
TI Aida, Japan
Buenos Aires, Argentina
A1 Ring, Austria
Indianapolis, United States

Added

Donington Park, Great Britain*
Nurburgring (new), Germany
Melbourne, Australia
Sepang, Malaysia
Shanghai, China
Sakhir, Bahrain
Istanbul, Turkey
Valencia Street Circuit, Spain
Marina Bay, Singapore
Fuji, Japan
Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

*Presuming Donington Park does take Silverstone’s place on the 2009 calendar.

The over-riding concern has been to take F1 to new countries, particularly those of key interested to car manufacturers, such as China.

But this has been pursued at the loss of too many important venues for F1. By dropping France off the calendar, it has severed its links with the country that gave the world Grand Prix racing. Mosley has allowed North America to fall off the calendar entirely.

In their place have come a series of events in places with little interest in Formula 1, correspondingly meagre crowds, and underwhelming cookie-cutter tracks. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a big fat fail for Mosley on this count.

Financial health of F1

In 2000 Mosley authorised the sale of F1’s commercial rights to Bernie Ecclestone for 100 years for $309m. Even by his standards Ecclestone got an incredible deal – thanks partly to Mosley’s apparent desire to conclude a deal before anyone else got an offer in.

That included the European Automobile Manufacturer?s Association (ACEA – which is now backing FOTA’s protests against the FIA), whose representative Paolo Cantarella met with Mosley to discuss a potential offer. Mosley later wrote to Cantarella explaining that his association had one week to deliver a bid for a contract which Ecclestone and various FIA representatives had been working on for eight months.

Having got his knock-down deal, six years later Ecclestone sold control of F1 to CVC Capital Partners. The exact total paid is not known, but the sum is believed to be well in excess of $1.7bn, and was funded by CVC securing a loan against its future profits of $2.9bn.

This has left Formula 1 in a situation where its participants foot huge bills to compete and see the majority of the revenues generated by their activities handed not to themselves, nor re-invested into the sport, but to a private equity firm principally concerned with squeezing the sport for every penny it’s got.

On top of that several teams are yet to receive what monies they are entitled to from previous seasons, adding to their objections.

This is where the roots of the bitter row afflicting F1 today lie. And it started with a deal done by Mosley.

Your verdict

The question of safety is arguably the single most important thing Mosley has had to do in his F1 car. And his response was, largely, correct and good for the sport. However we must always remember it was in reaction to a crisis, rather than pre-emptively avoiding one.

Safety aside, how many other concrete examples are there of how Mosley has improved F1?

A better-quality grid has been achieved at the expense of decent entry numbers. The championship visits some new countries having sacrificed others, and is seen by fewer fans. The roster of circuits is becoming ever more uniform.

The unequal distribution of F1’s revenues has gotten worse, not better. And it has spawned the very crisis which Mosley now presumes to tell us he should remain in power to fix.

I’m not convinced. In 18 years, Mosley has not done nearly enough for us, the F1 fans.

What good do you think Mosley has done for F1? Share your verdict on his FIA presidency below.

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150 comments on What has Max Mosley ever done for us?

  1. rampante said on 28th June 2009, 23:41

    Don’t think you can underestimate the importance of Jackie stewart and Emmerson fitipaldi in the very early 70’s on safety.What happened in 94 was tragic but because it involved Senna things were changed. Sadly it would not have happened if it was only the death on the sat of Ratzenberger and also Rubens accident.I have watched for 40 years and the last thing I want is to see people loose their life in sport but it did happen and I saw many of my heros die.Max has moved the sport forward in this aspect but not on his own. Sid Watkins was there 10 years before.I always thought Max had been good for motor sport not only F1 but he has become a complete power freak and is now trying to destroy the sport through legislation.The FIA is there to govern and protect F1 not try to change it every year.

  2. Brian said on 28th June 2009, 23:57

    M.M. gets credit for that safety increase, but I other than that he hasn’t really left that same good taste in our mouths that his initials stand for. (M&M’s the candy coated chocolate)

  3. Max should resign now!!! said on 29th June 2009, 0:39

    I don’t follow the WRC but I’ve heard fans complaining about him there as well. I know this article is only trying to make an observation of what he has done to the F1 world, but wouldn’t it be great to see what he has done or not far racing in general? After all he is the president of the FiA not F1.

    • persempre said on 29th June 2009, 1:33

      True & Max is also responsible for safety in Rally which continues to have fatalities.
      OK, I know it`s harder to make Rally as safe as single seaters. I still give more credit to Prof Sid who was the F1 medic. How much of the improvement in F1 safety is down to his ideas which were signed off by the FIA, I wonder?
      To give Max his due he has been responsible for introducing the crash tests etc from F1 to the ordinary motoring world.

      • scunnyman said on 29th June 2009, 4:14

        But was it really max’s idea for the crash testing, or did he just take the credit?

        In fact he may or may not have taken credit for all the ideas on safety over the years.

        But then if that is true then all the crazy ideas could have been made by others and him taking the credit.

  4. peterg said on 29th June 2009, 0:58

    In 2007 Max made Ron Dennis cry….that must count for something.

  5. VXR said on 29th June 2009, 1:12

    I think that the ‘fans’ have a had a rough deal from all sides of F1.Max,with his silly rules.The teams for getting lost in their own self interest,and Bernie for generally making the whole thing rather expensive.

    Will it get any better ? Well the rather silly FIA are still there.The teams are unlikely to have suddenly become the fans best friends,and,of course,Bernie will still be taking us to ‘Wherethehellarewestan’ to get his money and sell their cars.

  6. phil c said on 29th June 2009, 1:47

    Apart from Safety max has done nothing else for F1, the bloke has cost f1 teams millions with stupid rule changes and ridiculous decisions. The change in tyre rule is a great example. Grooved tyres were implemented on the safety argument which was ludicrous. Cars were lapping just as quick. In addition to this other regulations such as stupid changes from year to year like tyre rules (one tyre per race, pathetic), icu, minor amendments to the design of a car. These are all crap these did nothing for the sport accept cost millions of dollars to implement.
    He can argue that it takes a whole pile of people to vote on a decision and he is not the one that calls all the shots, however from what I hear and have read he did govern the FIA with an iron fist, “you betray me and your gone” , and on top of that reporters were afraid to talk bad about him because they were threatened to lose licence to enter the pitlane, look what nearly happend to brundle for speaking the truth. Max you are a dictator and i am glad to see the back of you.
    Personally I think the teams should have went on there own, and left max and the FIA high and dry. I cannot understand how Bernie and CVC let a man not in control of there company make crucial decision which affects them finically. I believe at the end of 2012, we will have the same issue. Because this was all about money, the teams are getting screwed, and revenue distribution is totally wrong.

  7. wasiF1 said on 29th June 2009, 1:52

    Apart from safety Max has failed in every corner

  8. VXR said on 29th June 2009, 2:09

    It should be noted that the FIA asked the teams to come up with suitable rules to cut cornering speeds.But it’s a bit like asking an Axe murderer if he’d like to design a suitable ‘hachette’ for the job.

    • phil c said on 29th June 2009, 3:40

      All he had to do was ask the tire supplier to use a harder compound. The thing is, the speed and safety arguement is crap because we are as fast as we were a couple of years ago. They changed was made because he liked the look of the tyre.

      He wasted millions of dollars on stupid decisions. He is useless.

      • VXR said on 29th June 2009, 8:52

        All he had to do was ask the tire supplier to use a harder compound.

        Everyone except Ferrari got them.LOL

        Remember,you could still ‘buy’ a good tyre back then.

        The thing is, the speed and safety arguement is crap because we are as fast as we were a couple of years ago.

        But would have been faster if nothing had been done.

        They changed was made because he liked the look of the tyre.

        To make it go slower.

        He wasted millions of dollars on stupid decisions. He is useless.

        So did the teams.Are they useless?

  9. Mussolini made the trains run on time and Hitler ended unemployment. Max and safety improvements may be a credible argument to make, but like the other two despots he will only be remembered for his failures, especially his miserable handling of the greatest sport on 4 wheels at the end of his reign of terror.

    Go to your bunker now Max, and do the honorable thing.

  10. mp4-19b said on 29th June 2009, 5:01

    max mosley is a badly groomed piglet. i dunno why everyone gives him the credit for making the sport safer & everything. no he didn’t. the guy has got too much ego. everyone knows about him. his now behaving like a loony himself. this evil man will never learn his lessons. never. This is actually the perfect time for him to be stepping down. the reason why i say this is he’s recently lost his son & his wife must be feeling very lonely,so it would be appropriate for him to spend more time with his family.

  11. Rahzam said on 29th June 2009, 6:03

    Anyone sitting on Max seat was suppose to do the same for safety what he did.

    What is the logic behing giving commercial rights for 100 years? Can’t he give for 2,3 years contract?

  12. IDR said on 29th June 2009, 6:52

    A better-quality grid has been achieved at the expense of decent entry numbers.

    Well, I don’t think they changed tracks just because safety reasons. I tend to think they changed circuits because hosting fees are killing those circuits not having public grants to survive.

    On the other hand, yes, maybe Max have done a good job on safety, but even Al Capone love his mother…

    How can be positive the work of a man who sold 100 years contract to his friend Bernie for 300 Millions and some time later his friend sold it to a third party for 1,(something) billion.?

    That kind of practises has a legal name…

  13. scunnyman said on 29th June 2009, 8:59

    I wouldn’t say Max Mosley is as bas as Hitler but i’m sure if he ran a country he would have made just as much of a mess of it as he has done with FIA meddling in various motorsports
    And i guess he only went into FIA because he had no chance of becoming a politician. I’m sure he would have loved to become Prime minister. But then could he have done any worse than some we have had in Britain?

    • Maksutov said on 29th June 2009, 9:38

      he needs to step down asap, specially if he is to keep any dignity and good thought that people may remember of him. Otherwise he will go down in History as the most hated man, and a joke to the world.

      I am surprised that his advisers dont tell him this for his own good.

  14. Dougie said on 29th June 2009, 9:02

    This morning I’m wondering “why do I support Max so much?”… especially when since the mid 90’s I’ve watched the sport I grew up with and loved gradually degenerate into what I consider a shadow of its former self and quite simply IMO a farce of team tactics and strategies and pit lane overtaking, instead of drivers skill behind the wheel and on-track action.

    Maybe I don’t actually support Max, maybe comments like mp4-19b and Maksutov just get my back up. I’ve always taken time to understand and side with the persecuted and the under-dog. I tend to go against the masses and try to understand the other side. But in all honesty this time I’ve got to let logic and the facts override this psychological element in me.

    Reading the Wiki on Mosley it all seems to start honourable (of course, he is trying to get the position of FIA President) and during the dark period of 1994 he did some honourable things. I believe any 2 deaths that weekend would have resulted in a similar response. He also did great things for road safety through F1. But it quickly becomes apparent during his 2nd and now very much so into his 3rd term that power corrupts.

    It is time for Max to leave, and I still believe that the FIA in general have a lot to answer to in allowing this to happen. A FIA Presidency is a position which should IMO only be held for a maximum number of terms like the US & French Presidents and the UK Prime Minister… based on how quickly Max asserted his corrupted leadership I guess that would be only 1 term… but in reality lets make it 2 terms.

    Anyway Max out, I’m with the mob on this one!

    • scunnyman said on 29th June 2009, 9:30

      Dougie, no offence but i never thought i’d see a leopard change it’s spots or see pigs fly.
      But your opinion is valid whatever you think, be it going alone or staying with the masses. The masses can be wrong, but i don’t think so on this occasion.

      So welcome Dougie.

  15. Dougie said on 29th June 2009, 9:05

    I’ve no idea what has just happened to the comment by Maksutov!?!

    • Maksutov said on 29th June 2009, 9:28

      I’ve no idea what has just happened to the comment by Maksutov!?!

      hahaha.. maybe its called frustration?

      Well im sorry but Mosley has gone overboard. this is no time to discuss how good he is.

      There are many manipulative people in this world that are equivalent to Max Mosley, Hitler clearly was one of them, did you ever read and study about Hitler? Maybe you should try. I am not talking about his murders im referring to his very conniving and manipulative ways. And simply, that is the point Max Mosley has dragged the community to think of him. Maybe you should read some of the other forums and posts.

      People who are interested to create problems in this world rather then to solve them should be removed nicely or controlled by justice,.. but if none of those work, then what else can one say!?

      If he continues with the path that he is on now, then what I have said above about him will only be a shadow.

      If Max Mosley wants to keep his dignity, thats right “dignity” and any good thought that the F1 community might remember of him, THEN HE SHOULD STEP DOWN and stop this nonsense corrupted manipulative damage that he is forcing upon the sport the members of the sport and its fans.

    • Maksutov said on 29th June 2009, 9:30

      Ok my above post cam out wrong: this is to Dougie:

      …..im sorry but Mosley has gone overboard. this is no time to discuss how good he is.

      There are many manipulative people in this world that are equivalent to Max Mosley, Hitler clearly was one of them, did you ever read and study about Hitler? Maybe you should try. I am not talking about his murders im referring to his very conniving and manipulative ways. And simply, that is the point Max Mosley has dragged the community to think of him. Maybe you should read some of the other forums and posts.

      People who are interested to create problems in this world rather then to solve them should be removed nicely or controlled by justice,.. but if none of those work, then what else can one say!?

      If he continues with the path that he is on now, then what I have said above about him will only be a shadow.

      If Max Mosley wants to keep his dignity, thats right “dignity” and any good thought that the F1 community might remember of him, THEN HE SHOULD STEP DOWN and stop this nonsense corrupted manipulative damage that he is forcing upon the sport the members of the sport and its fans.

      • mp4-19b said on 29th June 2009, 9:34

        you hit the nail on the head,Maksutov.

        • mp4-19b said on 29th June 2009, 9:45

          and i dunno why my comments are “awaiting moderation”.maybe this is what you get for speaking the truth. its all a mosley conspiracy imo. max mosley wants complete control of everything, including f1 blogs. i’ve just expressed my views, as this is a co.uk website, the British imo are open to criticism & always take it in the right spirit. i dunno who’s “moderating” my comments. is it FIA bots? or maybe james allen.

          • scunnyman said on 29th June 2009, 9:51

            Yes i have a couple of comments awaiting moderation too mp4. I dunno why either, i thought they were innocuous comments and they have been waiting for a couple of days now with no response from Keith.

          • mp4-19b said on 29th June 2009, 9:58

            i dunno who moderates it. maybe anything anti-mosley gets taken off the blog. you see this is what dictators do. max mosley is the personification of evil.

          • scunnyman said on 29th June 2009, 10:13

            My 2 comments, mp4, included references to Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson and i don’t think i said anything bad.

          • mp4-19b said on 29th June 2009, 10:41

            i just mocked at mosley, drawing comparisons between the song “we are the champions” by queen(rock band) & his life, it was to be taken in a lighter sense. but the FIA bot seems to have missed the point that i was trying to make. i also never meant to insult Freddie Mercury(RIP). The FIA bot moderating this blog is just like mosley!

          • mp4-19b said on 29th June 2009, 11:10

            maybe you said something about the Hollywood jinx. that if one dies two will follow? and maybe the FIA bot mistook the 3rd one as max mosley . The FIA bot forgot Ed McMahon :) & i wanna know how did you think mosley would be the third in the queue ? & is mosley in anyway related to hollywood ?

          • scunnyman said on 29th June 2009, 18:31

            Yes i made comment about the urban myth of 3 celebs and he who can’t be named be the 3rd.

            It wasn’t that bad and was not to be taken seriously.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th June 2009, 19:04

            I moderate the comments: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/credits-and-contacts/f1-fanatic-comment-policy/

            Scunnyman I’ve got to the bottom of the problem with yours earlier and will reply to your email shortly.

            If anyone else has a query about moderation please drop me a line or leave a comment on this thread: Rules on commenting.

      • Dougie said on 29th June 2009, 13:34

        There are many manipulative people in this world that are equivalent to Max Mosley, Hitler clearly was one of them, did you ever read and study about Hitler? Maybe you should try.

        People who are interested to create problems in this world rather then to solve them should be removed nicely or controlled by justice,.. but if none of those work, then what else can one say!?

        This is interesting because fundamentally we all arrived the same way, and our childhood experiences define who we are as people today. I consider Hitler, Max and other people that I know through History, and others personally, as victims of their own childhood. Most of which leads to a lifetime behind bars, and if not a lifetime of mental torture and anguish dealing with it.

        Now that is not to say that we should forgive them their sins, most certainly not in the case of Hitler. But fundamentally all we are doing is sweeping this under the carpet.

        It is society, our society, that creates this evil.

        ps. I’m an atheist. If that matters.

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