Will Max Mosley’s Legacy Be The Death Of Formula One?

Will Max Mosley’s Legacy Be The Death Of Formula One?

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.


  • I’ve just re-read the title and would like to point out that I don’t think Max Moseley’s legacy (whatever it will happen to be) will be the death of Formula One (as in, his legacy is not going to be the cause of any sport’s death). But his legacy could be shaped by the possible death of the sport. My poor command of English shone out bright when I typed that one! It probably should have been ‘Will Max Mosley Be Remembered As The Man Who Killed Off Formula One?’ or similar.

  • Indeed, Max’s legacy will be broad and extensive- stretching back to the days after Senna’s passing and his work on Safety, then running through the scandal last year and this row over the entries for next year’s championship. But is is common for any public figure to be best remembered for their last great campaign or action, and these current events will do a great deal to establish that for Max.

    As for re-election, I can easily see Max running for re-election at the end of the summer, based on exactly the logic that Ollie has spoken to above. The big question for me is…will someone run against him? My hope is for Nick Craw- an American who would be a breath of fresh air to everyone involved in the sport.

  • My hope is for Nick Craw- an American who would be a breath of fresh air to everyone involved in the sport.

    I know little about Nick Craw other than his involvement in the ACCUS and more recently in the FIA itself. But I cannot help but agree, a breath of fresh air it would be.

  • Max is Bernie’s servant and will stand for re-election as Bernie needs Max to protect his position. If Nick Craw or someone else who is not a Bernie puppet gets the job there is every chance the commercial rights contract will be challenged in court and Bernie would not want that.

  • I firmly beleive he will stand again. He is too power drunk to give it up. I just hope that the rest of the muppets at the FIA field some decent opposition and elect someone worthy of the role. Won’t hold my breath though.

  • No, Max Mosley will not be remembered as the man who killed F1, instead he will be known as the man who changed F1 into a extremly professional and highly competitive motorsport. It It went from having a couple of million tv-wievers to have hundreds of millions.

    How kan you kill Formula1 by change, the biggest differens between F1 and other motorsports have been the always high rate of change in F1 ( having NASCAR as the total opposite with very little change over the years ), to not change would jeopardize its future.

    And to all of you who hope that Mr Mosley will not stand for reelection think what would happen if the new president would come from the other side of FIA, ie FIA for Mobility and the Automobile, how much time and resources would be spent on racing compared to today ?

  • Johnny, it was Bernie who made F1 go from a couple of million viewers to hundreds of millions. He’d started that change long before Max took power.

    If you forget what a series is for, then changing it can move the series away from its purpose. Such movement can destroy a series unless it finds an equally compelling and unique purpose (cost-cutting is not unique).

    Frankly, few resources spent on F1 would be better than spending lots of them the wrong way, which is one reason why I have hoped for the last couple of years that Robert Darblenet (head of the American Automobile Association and thus on both halves of the organisation) should be put in charge. A better distribution of the FIA’s efforts would help F1 sort its problems out.

  • Johnny

    The FIA takes money from F1 they don’t give it any.

    If someone from the other side of the FIA got the job that would be a good thing. First that side of the FIA is far more important than the sport and Max is so intent on manipulating F1 that he is not giving it enough attention. What should happen is FISA should be re-instated to run sport as it did before Max disbanded it. He disbanded it not for the good of the sport but because he had used the FISA presidency to build his FIA presidency campaign and didn’t want someone doing the same to him.

    F1 was a massive global sport long before Max became FIA president. Your view of F1 history is a bit confused.

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