Max Mosley is nearing the end of his fourth term in the role of president of the FIA, and as always at this time, there is much talk of what the Briton will do; run again or gracefully call it a day. In his time as president of Formula One’s governing body, Mosley has brought about a lot of change, some for the good and some less so. The man has his detractors and also his supporters. But what will his legacy be should Max not be re-elected this November?
It’s very easy to focus on the negative points when discussing someone’s success in a position of authority that is also played out in the international media. Mosley is the front man of the FIA and isn’t solely concerned with Formula One. Many other motor sports fall under his and the FIA’s command as do various safety initiatives designed to improve technology and awareness in relation to safety in the automotive world, be it in the manufacturers factories or for the humble driver behind the wheel.
However, despite the organisations good work, it is Formula One that captures the imaginations of most. It is the sport that makes the most headlines for the FIA and because of this, it is also where Mosley is mostly judged from. And currently, it isn’t looking like Max will be remembered too fondly.
The introduction of a £40m budget cap for the 2010 season onwards is in essence, a good idea. Expenditure needs to be controlled in a sport that is lavishly costly at the moment. In order to thrive, the sport needs to be open to new teams, but it must not become a common-as-muck sport; many say that Formula One’s exclusivity is exactly what draws people to it in the first place.
The balancing act is quite hard, and while the FIA feel that currently a $40m budget for a season’s racing is acceptable, the current array of manufacturer teams plus Dietrich Mateschitz’s family of two feel it is not.
In Spain this past weekend, Toyota’s John Howett stated that if the cap is not discussed and amended, the Cologne-based squad would not lodge an entry into next year’s championship. Yesterday, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso followed suit and stated that unless the rules change, they’re out as well. And now Ferrari have gone on record with a similar concern.
If the last thing you do in any given role or position is what you will be remembered by, then Max Mosley could be on the verge of being remembered as the man who destroyed a sport that up until recently, not perfectly, but was adequately ticking over. I am certain that this fiasco over the budget cap will be resolved by the end of the month and those who had every intention of entering prior to the initial budget cap proposal will indeed lodge an entry.*
It’s interesting though to think about how Max will be remembered. He has been a driving force in Formula One for so many years. Whether you agree with what he has done in this time is almost irrelevant as the fact remains that he has been a driving force, either for the good or the bad. And as someone who spends so much of his time in the (motorsport) public eye, Max will be remembered for a very long time to come.
It almost makes me wonder if, come late-summer, Mosley announces his intention to run again. I’ve said it before, but I will say it again: I can’t possibly leave the FIA while Formula One is such a state of flux with many changes happening. Thus, the only honourable thing I can do is to remain for another term to see these changes through.
We all know what that translates to, but now I’ve thought about it a little more and depending on what happens with the 2010 entry saga, I believe Mosley may also want to continue to ensure he leaves on a happier, more respectable note.
*I’ve worded that phrase carefully as I’ve had suspicions about Toyota and Renault since Honda withdrew last year.