FIA president Max Mosley was invited to Jordan this weekend to attend the country’s inaugural rally, another sport governed by the international organisation. Mosley, who was recently plastered over a Sunday tabloid in the UK, has stayed away for the two Formula One races that have taken place (or about to take place) since. The Crown Prince of Bahrain sent Mosley a letter ahead of his planned visit to the Bahrain Grand Prix essentially asking him not to attend. Max obliged and cited reasons of being very busy working with his legal team at the time. But choosing to attend Jordan this week may not have been the best idea either, as it turns out the president has been given the cold shoulder by many people.
It has been reported that the rally teams have instructed their staff to stay away from Mosley should they see him, although this apparent behaviour has been largely refuted by the quotes coming from rally team bosses present in Jordan. More so, King Abdullah II will not officially receive Max to the proceedings, adding further to the distance important people are putting between themselves and FIA president. And perhaps more speculative than fact, it has also emerged that a royal dinner held on Wednesday and attended by Mosley had an unusually poor turnout, leading some to suggest that Mosley put others off from attending.
British newspaper The Daily Mail have leaned on the cynical side of the story and said the following.
Mosley will see the invitation from a country so obviously sensitive to anti-Semitism as proof that he can discharge his role as FIA president. The Daily Mail.
Not everyone was as harsh to the president though, as Ford’s Malcolm Wilson said:
He still has an official capacity as president of the FIA and we will respect that. Malcom Wilson.
However, an unnamed senior figure in the sport has been quoted in The Telegraph as saying:
We haven’t seen him at a rally for how long? And now he comes on the same weekend that Formula One is running in Spain. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with our sport being held hostage.
If Mosley is not made entirely welcome in countries that host events for Formula One, World Rally or any other sport that falls under the FIA’s control, then how can he do his job to the best of his abilities?
Update: Mosley has now reportedly confirmed that he will visit the Monaco Grand Prix in late-May, just ahead of his extraordinary meeting with the FIA. Max stated that he attends the Monaco race each year as he lives in the Principality. The FIA president also refuted claims of a cold welcome in Jordan earlier in the week, saying:
I was invited by the Prince and I have spent time with him on several occasions – including having dinner with him on Wednesday night. He has been very friendly and welcoming towards me. Max Mosley.