Max Mosley, the current president of Formula One’s governing body the FIA, had stated last year that this term, his fourth, would be his last. Having been elected in 1993, Mosley has remained at the helm of the FIA for an unprecedented length of time, and has previously rescinded announcements of standing down. However, after Mosley became embroiled in a lawsuit against the News Of The World earlier this year, he once again stated he would not run for re-election in 2009.
However, it isn’t always that black and white with Mosley, and recently the embattled Briton has hinted that he will not give a definite answer to the question of running again until mid-2009, just a few months prior to the end of his term. While speaking with Formula One’s official website, Mosley suggested that any potential successor should “think very carefully before standing for election”.
A great deal of patience [is needed] and ideally an ability to understand quickly a great variety of technical and legal issues. I would advise a potential successor to think very carefully before standing for election. […]
The difficulty is finding somebody who has the necessary experience, but also the time and inclination to do the job. You mention Nick Craw. He is the president of ACCUS, which controls all the different forms of racing in the United States. With all this to contend with, he is probably not exactly looking for work. Max Mosley.
Is Max being very open and honest here, or is this a warning to anyone who might be thinking of putting themselves forward for the role? With Max, as I said before, it isn’t always black and white.
If Mosley were to stand again, it would no doubt be because of the instability currently facing the sport, and that there are many changes happening which Mosley will need to see through. Which to a degree is accurate, but taking this stance means that the presidency will never change hands; there is always going to be something happening, otherwise the job of the president is moot.
Alternatively, I can see Mosley citing the many people who write to him all the time expressing their wishes for himself to continue as president. When Max’s position came under question earlier in the year, the barrister claimed that he had received many letters asking him to not stand down and to continue as president. These letters never saw the light of day, nor do we know who sent them. But if there are people within the FIA who are keen to see Mosley carry on, I wouldn’t put it past Max to cite this as good enough reason to run for re-election.
The bottom line is that I feel the FIA needs a new president. Change can be good, and although Mosley has contributed many a great thing to both the sports that come under the FIA’s control and the general motoring industry, he also been criticised for his draconian approach and implementing ideas without much thought or common sense used.
Admittedly, this does appear to be changing though. Mosley has expressed a desire for the FIA to become more transparent, and a shake-up in the stewarding process at grands prix is a good start. When asked by F1.com about the planned changes to the stewarding process, Mosley had the following to say:
This change was prompted because people were criticising the stewards’ decisions without having the information which the stewards had. The obvious way to deal with this is to make that information generally available. Once people understand why a decision was made, they will be less likely to disagree with it and any criticism will be informed rather than uninformed. Max Mosley.
Unfortunately, Mosley then ruined it by suggesting the following when asked about what he thought his greatest disappointment was from his tenure as president:
The greatest disappointment has been the tendency of some fans to criticise without understanding what we are trying to do. Max Mosley.
Perhaps, as Mosley has already stated, the reason why the criticism occurs is because we fans are generally kept in the dark. When we have little-to-no information, we have to resort to common sense to understand why something has happened. And recently, common sense has suggested that the FIA and the stewards (to continue the theme, but there are many others) are ridiculously ill-informed about the rule book and general racing etiquette.
At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mosley ran again. I see his statement as a warning to others who may be considering running for president, and I can see a whole slew of excuses coming out next June or July attempting to reason why Mosley should continue for a fifth term.