Political wrangling far from over in F1

maxfia-290If you thought Wednesday’s breakthrough deal between the FIA and the Formula One teams heralded an end to the infighting engulfing Formula One, think again.

With agreement brokered between the two parties over next year’s rules and the threat of a breakaway series extinguished FIA President Max Mosley could have stepped down quietly with a half decent legacy too.

After all, as Forumula1.com’s Hugh Podmore argues HERE, the bottom line is that he managed to get the teams to agree to cutting costs significantly something they weren t always prepared to do and to commit to the sport. He has got new teams independents into the sport to provide some balance were the manufacturers suddenly to withdraw. He also managed to elicit an unconditional recognition of the authority of the FIA by FOTA something that at Silverstone, with the heady smell of revolution in the air, seemed light years away.

But instead of going quietly, Mosley has chosen to re-ignite the turmoil by lashing out at the teams for relatively minor claims – in the context of the overall deal – over the future presidency of the FIA, and for doing something that he himself is guilty of, which was to present the best possible gloss to the media about the deal.

In doing so Mosley as also opened the possibility once again that he will re-stand for election for FIA President in October.

In a letter leaked to www.racefax.com and Autosport, Mosley told FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo:

“Given your and FOTA’s deliberate attempt to mislead the media, I now consider my options open,” wrote Mosley in the letter. “At least until October, I am president of the FIA with the full authority of that office.

“After that it is the FIA member clubs, not you or FOTA, who will decide on the future leadership of the FIA.”

“We made a deal yesterday in Paris to end the recent difficulties in Formula 1,” explained Mosley. “A fundamental part of this was that we would both present a positive and truthful account to the media.

“I was therefore astonished to learn that FOTA has been briefing the press that Mr Boeri has taken charge of Formula 1, something which you know is completely untrue; that I had been forced out of office, also false; and, apparently, that I would have no role in the FIA after October, something which is plain nonsense, if only because of the FIA statutes.

“Furthermore, you have suggested to the media that I was a ‘dictator’, an accusation which is grossly insulting to the 26 members of the World Motor Sport Council who have discussed and voted all the rules and procedures of Formula 1 since the 1980s, not to mention the representatives of the FIA’s 122 countries who have democratically endorsed everything I and my World Motor Sport Council colleagues have done during the last 18 years.”

Mosley called on FOTA to make an apology at their own press conference on Thursday, but with no such admittance coming from the teams, the row between him and the teams association is far from other.

Luca di Montezemolo responded to Mosely calling for an end to the internal bickering that has plagued Formula One for the past few months.

He said of Wednesday’s deal: “I am very pleased for the agreement, [and] I was not surprised because I understand the spectators, they are pissed off with all these polemics – the press releases, unclear rules, rules that change every six months.

“We need stability. We need peace. We need transparency. We love F1; we want a F1 as always extreme – extreme in terms of technology and competition. The best drivers, the best teams, the best cars, this is what we try to achieve.

“I am very pleased for this result and also for the very good atmosphere that I found in Paris with the World Council, the FIA. So I think together with the FIA we have done a good agreement looking ahead.

“Now, stop with all the polemics, because we love F1. We don’t want to contribute to…take off the big charm and the unique elements of F1.”