Ron Dennis speaks, Max Mosley sues

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I’m officially sick of the Max Mosley thing. He claims to have, “received a very large number of messages of sympathy and support from those within the FIA and the motor sport and motoring communities.”

Well since then BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, the German and Dutch motor sports organisations and many individuals including former champions Jody Scheckter and Jackie Stewart have criticised him. Cristian Horner and Stefano Domenicali awkwardly ducked questions about him in today’s press conference.

Number of people publicly sticking up for Mosley: zero.

According to The Times’s Ed Gorman, “[Mosley] has ‘lost’ the Formula One paddock and he has certainly ‘lost’ the press room.” I don’t doubt that’s true, but what I’d really like to read on Ed’s blog is his thoughts on his employer’s role in all this.

I asked a friend of mine who has worked for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation whether it was likely their revelations about Mosley in the News of the World was a response to the FIA’s decision to sue The Sunday Times (because of Martin Brundle’s columns on McLaren and Ferrari).

He chuckled at my naivete in even asking the question. Of course that’s what happened…

Given that, how should we assess Mosley’s chances of success in his new lawsuit against the News of the World? Not well, I should think.

I do not see how Mosley can survive this without causing yet further harm to F1’s reputation. And as he thrashes around looking for someone to blame other than himself the public image of the sport he represents is being dragged through the mud.

For the perfect example of the kind of ridicule Mosley has brought upon the sport, turn to the sublime Sniff Petrol.

From a man who’s gone down in my estimations to one who’s risen in my esteem: Ron Dennis.

Motor Sport published in full his speech to the Motor Sport Business Forum and you can read it here. For a man who is often lambasted for his clumsy phrases, it’s an attractively phrased speech and apparently it earned him a round of applause.

I may not agree with him when he says 20 races a year is a “a natural logistical limit,” or that budget caps are a good idea (Pandora’s Box, mark my words), but I’ve never heard Dennis sound so eloquent, appreciative and understanding of the sport.

Almost… Presidential.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “Ron Dennis speaks, Max Mosley sues”

  1. That would be the ultimate irony, for Ron to succeed Max.  Pity it’ll never happen.

    What annoys me about Mosley’s lawsuit is that it’s just a part of his delaying tactics.  The manufacturers call for an immediate response from the FIA – Max calls an EGM that he knows cannot happen for at least 6 weeks and pretends that this is the FIA’s response.  The stupid delegates fall for it, apparently, although some are waking up now and calling for his resignation with immediate effect.

    Max sets the agenda for the meeting and says it is to explain to the delegates all about how he is suing NOTW.  Not a word about a vote of confidence or anything like that.  It’s a blind, a ploy, and the interested parties must surely realise that.

    The lawsuit is purely to demonstrate to the FIA that he is doing as he said he would – but it’s meaningless, purely a personal matter between him and NOTW.  In the unlikely event he wins (Bernie doesn’t think he can), he will have established that NOTW were very naughty to invade his privacy.  Big deal.  The facts of the matter and the reason for people calling for Max’s resignation – his little five-hour entertainment with ladies of the night dressed in Nazi-like coats and concentration camp pyjamas – will still not have been addressed.

    Clearly, the man is guilty of everything printed in the NOTW story and he cannot continue to represent the FIA.  He must resign now, not when he feels like it.  Watch the pressure mount in the next few days as more and more organizations demand he step down.

  2. LOL, it was almost naive to ask that question. What should we think of Mosley, as he believes it was McLaren in stead of RM’s News Corporation.

    Finally Ron’s speech catched attention. Nah, Ron won’t be interested in leading FIA, he just want the best for F1, want more and more people to be interested in F1.

    BTW if you guys never realized it before, I want to say Ron is huge motorsport fan just like you and I.  (that’s why I become a McLaren fan. )

  3. completely agree with you, keith.  officially sick of it and it’s not even the end of the week. what this will feel like in  3 or 4 months if the old goat does manage to drag it out i shudder to think. 

    i find myself thinking we aren’t even well into the season and already there is a new controversy that is taking most of the thunder from this series.  did max not actually notice what the whole ferrari/mclaren/alonso/hamilton/who actually won the championship-oh, lets’ wait a month or two to see, et al sideshow did to last season? 

    ron was my first choice, too. don’t love him, don’t hate him but i think he’d just about do.

  4. Had time to read Ron’s speech now.  He is excellent and clearly passionate about F1 and its future.  My respect for Ron grew throughout the the Ferrari documents fiasco of 2007 and it is wonderful to see that he has emerged in 2008 still not bitter, not seeking revenge and retaining such a definite vision of the future.

    Not bad for a mechanic.

  5. Dennis for President?  Interesting idea but I’d have to say that’s the last thing motorsport needs.  First of all let me say that I am a McLaren and Dennis fan.  I still think they were hard done by in 2007 and have a lot of respect for Dennis.

    Having said that I think it would be a disaster for him to become President and here’s why:  We’ve just endured many years of having an FIA president who has, rightly or wrongly (the answer is rightly but that’s not important right now), been perceived as having a bias towards Ferrari and against  other teams, namely McLaren.  We’ve had enough of that.  What is required is both impartiality and, this is key, the appearance of impartiality.  Dennis can provide the former but not the latter and Todt wouldn’t fair any better.

    I would go further to say that the next president should be someone who has never worked for any of the teams they will govern.  Shocking?  The FIA president is very powerful and ultimately acts as a referee for the sport.  Therefore I would argue that he cannot have ever ‘played’ for the teams he governs.  After all, the referees in football are rarely ex United or Chelsea players now are they?

    Let the rules be decided by the relevant bodies and then be adjudicated by someone impartial, perhaps, shockingly, someone who doesn’t even like motorsport. 

    At least then we could finally have the impartial governance the sport requires.

  6. richdaddyracing
    4th April 2008, 23:19

    So I was right! Like it said in that bad Star Wars film, "there’s always a bigger fish". Max has had his a*se bitten by a real whopper. Now, Dennis for president? Yes please. You need boring, sensible people to run things, and RD is both. When he specced his own personal Macca F1 road car back in the 90’s, he had it painted brown – Executive Brown, to be exact. Tells you all you need to know about the man I reckon. But somehow I think Ferrari Internal Affairs might have something to say about that, so I wouldn’t bet on it. Todt is the one who will get it, I’m sure. Course when an FIA official is caught trying to offload a dossier of secret plans to turn Silverstone into a shopping centre then he’ll know the right course of action; fine the recipient, even if he doesn’t know he has them!Bring on some racing – and Sundays NOTW….

  7. are reporting that the AAA have now come out against Mosley. Between North America, Germany and Holland that works out in excess of 65m members against him.

    Agree that I’m bored of it already. The sooner he submits to the inevitable, the better.

  8. Just found a brilliant quote from a Bernie interview in the Mail during February:

    "He [Bernie] asks me if I know what is really wrong with Formula One? Before I can reply, he declares: "There are not enough sex scandals.""

    I sometimes wonder if Bernie knows whats in the post before the postman gets to the door!

  9. Robert McKay
    5th April 2008, 0:07

    It’s not much, I know, but I WILL stand up for Mosely on this, well, kind of. I feel sympathy for him. What he gets up to in his private life is his decision. I don’t give two hoots. It only stops him doing his job if/because people want it to, as they see a prime opportunity to get rid of him. The "Nazi" connotations of what he got up to (I’ve not seen any pictures/video, don’t want/need to, so am relying on the tabloids to tell me this) are not good, but I don’t think that makes him a racist or a fascist or a Nazi and anyone that claims otherwise can use their powers of telepathy on the rest of the F1 circus and tell us what they are thinking.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like what Mosely has done for F1. He’s taken it in totally the wrong direction, the product is overall not as good as it was 10 years ago, the sport is doing too many things wrong in my view. Additionally, he runs the sport in entirely the wrong way, because he’s become arrogant and corrupted by the power. I want Max out because of THOSE things, not what he gets up to in his private life. What are we going to do, start going through everyone’s private lives in F1, see what they get up to, demand their resignations? Not many people will get up to what Max does, but I’ll guarantee there’s not many whiter-than-whites out there either. THAT’s a bit too Gestapo for me.

    It’s the grubby tabloids (there’s plenty more than the one who broke the story) who are the real losers here: plenty of news in the world to investigate, but they’d rather rake through people’s private lives. Maybe Max had it coming, because they dared to print something he originally didn’t like, and he threw his toys out of the pram, so they retaliated. They are as bad as each other. But stooping to the personal level is too far.

    P.S. Keith, you asked pre-season what word we’d be adding "-gate" to; I think we have our answer. Nazi-gate.

  10. The head of the team convicted stealing competitors secrets to become the head of the FIA?Interesting theory. In the mean time Kimi stood up for Mosley:  "It’s his personal life and he can do whatever he wants and it’s not really my business or anyone else’s to put their noses in."

  11. The question is does this impinge on his ability to do the job. The answer has to be yes (he was disinvited for the Bahrain GP this weekend — that is unheard off). He can no longer show moral leadership to the FIA. He cannot credibly lead the fight against racism — he has to go.

    Rob — I have to disagree with you on this. I live in South Africa, and we all know about the gloomy past of that country. If I held mock KKK ceremonies behind closed doors would I then have any right to preach about equal rights? No — i’d look like a stupid hypocrite. I might be able to get away with it but I shouldn’t be able to.  In my view the Nazi issues IS the only issue.

    Anyway, back to the question, Max is very unlikely to sue the NOTW because the UK has some of the most relaxed journalism laws in the world. I suspect we might get an injunction against anything else coming out too…

  12. It is interesting when Ron is suggested it takes no time at all for the spy stuff to be thrown at him.  Funny thing is I have seen Flavio suggested on a few sites and no-one has mentioned the Renault spying case.  I guess it shows that Max’s outrageous fine had an effect.

    Unlike most it seems I am quite happy to watch Max squirm for a couple more weeks although I expect he will be gone by Tuesday.  I have complained about him since he was made FIA president.  He came into office saying F1 needed a strong Ferrari and did his best to strengthen them.  He gave Bernie 100 years of broadcasting rights for a handful of beans and Bernie sold shares in the company that owns them for billions.

    Max in my eyes has achieved nothing good in his term of office.  He seems only to have made Bernie a lot of money and handed Ferrari championships on a plate. 

    He gets a lot of praise for his safety improvements but given that none of the FIA’s serious safety moves happened until Senna died it is hard to see how anyone can be given credit for acting at a time when not acting would have been unthinkable.  Had action been taken when Piquet or Berger hit the same unprotected wall Senna would not have died. 

    Some of his decisions have made safety a lot worse.  Tarmac run-offs to save the show being interrupted and TV companies having to overrun.  We saw today that a hard run-off doesn’t work especially with a few mm of sand on it.

    It used to be even when the racing was dull qualifying was genuinely spectacular as drivers went out on sticky tyres, no fuel and hand grenade engines.  Now we have race fuel, race tyres and engines and gearboxes that have to last multiple races.  Even the multi-race component rule which in itself is stupid is written in such a way that people can be punished for having more reliable components.

    The sooner he goes the better.  I have no doubt we will be regaled with further tales of his grubby little life on Sunday.  I would not be surprised if more than one paper has some new dirt on him.

  13. Brazilian federation and Kimi to certain extent came out in support of Mosley …

  14. Here’s Raikkonen on Mosley – perhaps not too surprising given Raikkonen’s had similar attention about his own private life. Still I think cavorting with an inflatable dolphin is rather less serious than what Mosley’s been up to. The Brazilian motor sport club has also supported him.

    Israel’s motor sport club has said he should go.

    Even Kevin Garside, who stuck up for Mosley at first, has turned on him.

  15. I agree 100% with Kimi, its nobody elses business.

  16. Robert McKay
    5th April 2008, 10:20

    I think he was "advised" not to go to Bahrain, but there is no legal reason why he could not go if he chose to. It’d be embarrassing, yes, and probably detract from the focus of the Grand Prix, but he could still have went and performed his job. Like I say, it only stops him doing his job if others let/make that be the case.

  17. Are we surprised that a Ferrari driver has backed Mosley? After all, you never know when you might need a last minute rule change to ban something on a McLaren/Renault/etc to help your team win…

  18. anyone pause to think that perhaps Bernie commissioned the spying for NOTW?
    He gets his sex scandal, and ousts Max at the same time….One could imagine him harbouring some malice if Mosley’s fantasies were known to him.

  19. I just watched the video, lol its funny and it makes him alot ‘cooler’ in my humble opionion!
    What he does in his private life is no one elses business, and as for Kimi(the ferrari driver) saying the same, its not a surprise because, Kimi seems to be only concerned with his own life. The world would be a much better place if everyone minded their own!

  20. Ron Dennis should not be anywhere near the FIA presidency – he has already shown himself to be completely untrustworthy. Besides, debating who the next president will be is rather premature seeing as Max will hopefully come through this, especially seeing how the News of the World have (like almost all journalists) made up a story to fit a video that they obtained illegally.

  21. Haggis, thanks for bringing that statement up on this topic- I remembered that same interview and made a comment on it when the story first broke last weekend. Indeed, Bernie seems to be getting a taste of his own words at the moment- i’m wondering if he still wants more sex scandals around his sport as this situation continues to unfold.

    Now, onto the issue of Ron Dennis. What caught my attention as soon as I read his comments was his call for the 20-race limit. With many nations either set to join the schedule ro in various stages of negotiation/speculation about getting a race, this could leave fans in several nations out in the cold. As any regular reader of this board knows, I am eagerly hoping for a return of the USGP, and therefore I worry that such a limit could crimp such an event out of the fold. I think if Bernie will make more money off of more than 20 races, then he’ll run more than 20, so for the moment this suggestion dosen’t bother me as much.

    In my brief time in following the sport, i’ve always thought of Ron as a man of integrity and pride- the direct opposite of the people like Bernie, Max, etc. who hurt the image of the sport. As a diehard fan of the New York Yankees in MLB here in America, I see many of the same qualities they value on display in McLaren, right down the the demands for a clean-cut appearence. While I have developed into a Williams fan, I do root for McLaren to do well also.

    Finally, while Ron may make a great president, he’s now 60 or older I believe, and after the mess last season, i’m not sure if he’d want to step into a position where he’d face even more flak from the public. Hopefully someone of similar standards can be found to tkae F1 and motorsports in general to a higher level when Mad Max finally steps down.

  22. To AC, McLaren didn’t steal any data.  A disgruntled Ferrari employee photocopied it and handed it to a McLaren employee, without knowledge or instruction from the top.  McLaren had a gun against its head to apologise and admit culpability or lose the chance to race again.  Don’t twist the facts.  The whole incident was grossly unfair and was indicative of Max Mosley’s presidency.  He should step down – for all the reasons already given.  Can’t understand anyone defending him, however the NOTW came by the story.

  23. KB, I’m sure that’s what the population of 1930s Germany thought when Jews were hauled to concentration camps outside their homes, and they passed skeletons in the thousands of concentration camps in nearly every German town.  It’s not our business.  You should never stand by when you deem something is wrong:  "The road to Auschwitz was built by hate but paved with indifference" (Kershaw).

  24. This article shows perfectly how history can come back and bite your bum !

  25. I had nothing against  Kimi and even  CBA.(Brasilian auto confederation) 
    Hear in Brazil nobody cares about anything that´s is sexual behavior. 

    But i can say also that CBA is far from unanimous decision. And lots of people think that they made a wrong estatement.

  26. There is a lot of intelligent comment on this blog; good goin people. The F1 world is one of power and greed and i think when max is gone he can take bernie with him! These guys have not had the interest of F1 or the fans at heart for many years. Infact the whole thing makes me sick.

    The Max and Bernie show needs to end. The only reason a couple of very wealthy old farts hang around rather than retire to the Greek Islands for a peaceful end to their lives is POWER. GREED. EGO

    These people are so self indulgent there is nothing else they could possibly need. Max does his job for free his need for power is so great! Of course if nothing else Max must go; he is now a laughing case with no credibility and it would not surprise me if Bernie did max over; no one can be trusted in those positions of influence. If Bernie wants a sex scandal, Bernie will get a sex scandal.

    As much as i dislike Max you still have to feel for him in this little episode. It would be bad enough the boys at the pub knew about your private life let alone the whole ******* world!

    Max, old mate, if it’s a bit of an **** whipping you enjoy, i have a feeling your immediate future is looking rather ‘rosey’.

  27. Perhaps a silly thought, but what about Mr Stoddard as our new president?

  28. The Brazilian Auto Confederation DOES NOT support Mosley. The president  of CBA, Mr. Mr. Scaglione, has changed his position under Brazilian media pressure. And yes, WE DO care about sexual behaviors.

  29. It is not some much what Max has done as what it says about the man. The problem with Max is that he believes he has some devine right and as such he has lost touch with reality and those around him now smell blood. His actions are like those of a CEO who fiddles his expenses – not because he needs the money but because he can. You govern with and through the will of others not of your power – perhaps Max’s family history has just got the better of him and as such it is the right time for him to go.

  30. Marlon, I  Think that we brasilians not "hipocritical"  on those thinks And unfortunotaley CBA   position change now it will not be seen in the international midia. 

  31. Soler.

    The whole thing of supporting Mosley was Scaglione’s ideia. No CBA member was enquired about it, not even the vice-president. He told some "things" that became big ********* and now, after the CBA Extraordinary General Assembly, he changed his thoughts. Scaglione "once again" made use of his big mouth.

  32. Marlon

    And that  was terrible for Brasil`s image.  I hope he made his idea change clear now. 
    Sorry for my english errors

  33. Me too.

  34. Samambaia de Plastico
    8th April 2008, 10:40

    I am scared with the last developments of this case.I can understand that some don´t like Mosley and take advantage of it, but people such as Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart or any other driver have no moral to criticize Max, in their heyday they did a lot more than him, the difference is nobody caught them on video…What is this suddenly wave of morality sweeping the globe?This "Big Brother" intruding on people lives between four walls?Beware, you can be next!

  35. To all the people that reckon good old Max has done nothing wrong.  Isn’t it against the law to employ prostitutes? or doesn’t that apply if you happen to be a multi millionaire.?

  36. No it is not against the law.  It is perfectly legal.  Soliciting is illegal.  Living off their earnings is illegal but a transaction between two or more people is perfectly legal.

  37. It’s funny how easily people say its Nazi themed and that he should resign! First of all, there were no symbols of any sort to indicate that… just military uniforms and girls dressed as prisoners!
    God knows how many people like to fantasize of their partners as the slave… well, that’s just for fun! so what if he had girls dressed as prisoners!? They weren’t forced to do so nor did he hurt anybody… IT WASN’T MEANT TO BE SEEN! That’s the bottom line.
    If a cheap news company actually sent someone to tape it, well they should be blamed! it’s just pathetic, the complete lack of sensitivity to another person’s privacy.
    And other national motor sport federations should be smarter than this and think of everything he’s done for the sport! It’s really NO ONE’s business what people do in their private lives as long as they aren’t hurting anyone!

  38. Facts and rules:
    1-Privacy is protected by the human rights act…so what the newspaper did was breaching the privacy of an individual
    2-Europe always claims that the individual is free to do whatever he/she wants to as long as no one is hurt or discriminated
    3-Who said that these are uniforms of Nazi shoulders?a pro-jewish organizations who label anything they dislike due to various reasons as anti-semitic?
    4-Alot of countries allow prostitution….that is not Max Mosley’s problem at all….that is the mistake of the liberal governments and legislations….
    5-Ron Dennis is linked to this scandal…and the investigations will prove that….at this point,Ron Dennis will have take the run-away train….

  39. What gave you the idea the News of the World is a "pro-jewish organisation"? I haven’t seen anything conclusively linking Dennis to what’s happened. Your ‘facts’ are just opinions.

    The idea that everyone in Europe agrees on any single point, never mind the fraught questions of rights and liberties, is patently nonsense.

    And I don’t believe you’re Ayrton Senna either.

  40. News of the World isn’t so much pro-Jewish as pro-controversy. I’m sure if they could have made up a link to al-Qaeda, the Royal Family and little green extra-terrestrials, they would have done, simply to put sales up. Doesn’t necessarily mean their inferences were correct.

    I don’t think Max should resign because of the allegations; I think he should resign because the consequences of the allegations are interfering with his ability to do his job.

  41. Don’t use Senna’s name.  That is an insult.

    Rupert Murdoch is pro-Rupert Murdoch and nothing else.  The people who have seen the full 5 hour video have said there are Nazi uniforms.  Like the rest of us you have 90 seconds of that 5 hours available to you and have no clue what appears in it.  As I have said elsewhere for all we know 4 hours of it could be the Superbowl.

    It seems odd that you object to NOTW accusing Max of something he has done or at the very least he has done 95% of what they claim but you think it is OK for you to accuse Ron Dennis.  There is no evidence whatever Ron Dennis is involved and it never ceases to amaze me that everyone who accepts Max’s side of any story totally ignores the evidence and is happy to form opinions in complete ignorance with no shred of evidence.

    Max threatened to sue The Times.  Anyone with any intelligence knew Murdoch would retaliate before the matter ever got to court.

    There are literally hundreds of people with good reasons to set Max up for something like this and Ron Dennis is only one.  It could just as easily be Nigel Stepney who until this week was supposed to be the only person leaking info from Maranello and who Max has sentenced on very weak evidence, or Flavio Briatore over the mass damper nonsense, Tony George for the loss of the GP at Indy, anyone from Barcelona or the Spanish NSA because of the racist allegations etc etc. 

    The only people who may have committed an offense are the people who filmed it and the newspaper that published it and it is unlikely that Ron Dennis was the hooker with the camera but don’t let reality interfere with your views.

  42. -How strange some of these posts are….it is ok for everyone to have any kind of sexual fantasies and affairs….except Max Mosley
    -I read the link posted by "Ayrton Senna" and i have to admit that the article sheds light on some of the facts alot of tabloid/sensation papers did voluntary skip to enforce a certain point of view!
    -Nazi or non-nazi uniform…who cares….Versace was a gay and no one even thought to film him….who knows what kind of perversions he commited…which shows that both neutrality and objectivity are intentionally thrown overboard when needed!
    -What i do,with who I sleep/eat/drink/… and what religion i believe in is of no one’s business….

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