Battle lines are drawn on Mosley vote

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A series of letters and new revelations in the past 24 hours has shed light on the state of play ahead of the FIA’s confidence vote on June 3rd.

Here’s a brief recap on the latest developments.

A group of 24 clubs from 22 countries wrote to Mosley urging to resign before the vote. In a letter to Mosley they criticised him for “putting personal considerations before the interests of the FIA and its member clubs”, saying:

The FIA is in a critical situation. Its image, reputation and credibility are being severely eroded. Every additional day that this situation persists, the damage increases. There is no way back. […]

We take note of the letter sent by B. Ecclestone to all member clubs, stating his support for the FIA as the sole body governing international motor sport and his willingness to continue working with the FIA, irrespective of the result of the Extraordinary General Assembly on June 3rd.

We believe that his explanations put in due perspective the state of the relationship between the FIA and the Formula 1 world, taking away relevance to many of the arguments you make in your letter to justify your continuity. We take note of his point on the importance that the FIA be led by a credible and respected president. […]

We strongly believe that the only respectable way forward for the FIA, and for yourself, is to have an orderly transition, with an immediate agreement and your commitment to step down.

The signatories to the letter were the AAA and AATA (United States), ADAC (Germany), JAF (Japan), CAA (Canada), CCB (Brazil), KNAC (The Netherlands), M (Sweden), MAK (Hungary), MEMSI (Israel), OEMTC (Austria), RACC and RACE (Spain), TCB (Belgium), TCS (Switzerland), AAS (Singapore), AL (Finland), FDM (Denmark), FFA and FFSA (France) and FIAA (India).

According to the New Zealand, Australian and South African motoring clubs have also expressed criticism of Mosley but are not signatories to the letter.

The Russian Federation of Auto Sport and Tourism (R-FAST) has also indicated its support for the position laid down in the letter. But it has indicated it will be represented at the meeting by a proxy vote from the Belarus motoring club, which in turn may not be attending because it has not paid its membership fees, depriving those against Mosley of some badly-needed votes.

The signatories to the letter may represent some of the most active motor racing nations (Britain’s MSA a notable exception) but they only account for a small proportion of the votes in the General Assembly, estimated at somewhere between 10% and 25%, even though they claim to represent around 100m motorists. A majority of voters at the Assembly (51% or more) is needed to pass a resolution against Mosley.

There is conflicting information about exactly what role abstentions may play in the vote. Writing in Autosport recently Mark Hughes understood that an abstention would be interpreted as meaning a vote of support for the president. Joe Saward writing on believes they would be counted in support of the motion, i.e. against Mosley in this case. This is obviously a very important point and if anyone could give me a definitive answer on which one is correct I’d be very grateful.

Mosley responded to the letter from the clubs in characteristically indignant fashion. He pointed out in bold letters past occasions on which some of the signatories to the letter had opposed his policies.

This has led many to the logical conclusion that what we are witnessing is a pitched battle for undecided voters ahead of the meeting on Tuesday between Mosley and his opponents.

In his letter Mosley also tried to quietly climb down from his earlier assertion that Bernie Ecclestone is trying to wrest control of F1’s regulations from the FIA. He described Ecclestone’s letter to the clubs as: “a sudden and major change in position.”

There will doubtless be further developments in this story over the coming days. I still think Mosley should resign and I still don’t believe much of what he put in his letter to the teams the other week.

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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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22 comments on “Battle lines are drawn on Mosley vote”

  1. Robert McKay
    29th May 2008, 21:35

    Gosh, the whole “letters” thing is pretty quaint, isn’t it?

    But seriously, person/organisation X sends a letter claiming A, B and C to person/organisation Y, person/organisation Y sends a letter to X claiming A, B, and C are false, and further D, E and F are true, person Z jumps in and tells X and Y that everything is false and actually G is true…. YAWN. It’s getting like ruddy Question Time, or something – claim and counterclaim. BORED NOW. Lets get the vote done with and move this thing along a bit.

  2. What more do you expect when lawyers and bureaucrats are involved.

  3. My thoughts exactly Robert…

  4. AWESOME !! robert is quite clearly stating that they are in fact playing a playstation game, I hope its tekken 3, eddie gordon rocks.

    i’m sick and tired of Bernie and Max (although I love politics), can’t they just fire both of them and put the person us F1 fans really love in a position of power…

    Ted Kravitz.

    the man needs an autobiography now. and superpowers.

  5. If you want mine (my thoughts I mean) this is now the 4th article (out of 9) about Mosley and/or FIA on this blog’s main page. Anything to do with the sport we love?
    Somebody can explain?
    Rabi, when lawyers are involved we expect justice, when they are not then you can expect gross injustice.

  6. When lawyers are involved I expect a lot of cloak and dagger, backstabbing, under the table money, over the table threats and blackmail. Seriously the last thing I think of is justice when lawyers get involved – it’s just a game of paperwork and arguing left right and centre over a subject matter.

    If justice is to be served then Max needs to resign period, not because he’s had some hookers etc etc but because he is not able to perform his job.

  7. Ago – It’s the biggest developing story in F1 right now. We could be facing the first change in FIA president in 15 years. The credibility of the entire sport is being mocked daily on the international stage and has been since the end of March. On some days up to 80% of this site’s traffic has been people looking for the latest on the Mosley story. Do you seriously expect me to ignore it?

    Don’t think I don’t share your distaste for it, by the way (see here).

  8. Rabi : Democraty, our freedom is based upon Law and lawyers. Showing no respect for them is insulting. You are the procecutor and the judge that is not good justice is it?

    Keith: The biggest developping story in F1? What make you think that?
    I just did a google search with “mosley sex scandal” I had 322,000 answers (131,000 from the UK). A search on “Hamilton GP monaco” returns 2,830,000 (284,000 from the UK) I know this is not an absolute proof but it is certainly not going your direction is it?

    80% of your readers look for this kind of stories? Well put more articles it will then self justify ;-) remove all other articles it will be 100%.

    We know the general public like to read about scandals and only a small amount of people are F1 fans… I have no figure to proove my case but I do believe that Autosport (my bible) doesn’t have 80% of its visitors looking for the Mosley story, and doesn’t have 4/9 of their news about it either.

    I don’t expect you to do anything special, I read what you write this is your blog. I’m just telling you I might not read it in the future, and I might not be the only one. It’s a pity because I like the rest of what you write.
    Have a nice day ;-)

  9. Ago – your comparison of search terms is flawed and at any rate I have written much more about the Monaco Grand Prix than I have about Mosley. Since Saturday there have been 26 new articles published here: 12 on the Monaco Grand Prix, five on Mosley, and nine on other topics. On top of that there will be at least three non-Mosley articles added to the site today.

    Since the story broke in March I have written 18 articles on it and Autosport has written 64. Are they wrong to give it so much coverage? Am I? No, because, as I pointed out in my last comment, the potential ramifications for Formula 1 and the FIA are huge.

    You have made your point that you don’t think Mosley should resign and, although I don’t agree, it’s a fair point of view. But you simply cannot persuade me that this isn’t a story and it should be ignored.

  10. search terms versus traffic.


  11. Hihi, Ago, I think any lawyer who reads your idealistic view of the respected, gentleman lawyer who fights for justice is laughing his head off. It’s a cynical business and what Rabi writes is of course the only right way to see this business, especially at the level that we are seeing here.
    And baaaaaack to the discussion, I don’t think this is boring at all, as right now the final positions before the showdown are being taken. Kind of like a “High-Noon” in a spaghetti-western, only that it’s just Max out alone on the street on one side, with a band of enemies on the other side.
    But the real decision will come when the fire is finally opened, from the “spectators” who haven’t taken a clear position yet and will start shooting into one direction or another.
    It’s good to see Max reaching new lows in the whole process though, because even if he comes out of this victorious, he will be badly wounded and will probably be slowly demoted. He has the main organisations who represent a lot of money and also the main F1 manufacturers against him, if they don’t win now, they’ll win later…

  12. the following is what mosley wrote back to the members of the FIA that wanted him to back down….
    “In the interest of transparency, I am sending a copy of your letter together with this reply to all the member clubs of the FIA.”

    to the rest of the FIA, surely as a matter of transparency he should have included all the letters of support too?, did he?

    a resounding NO HE DIDN’T.

  13. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    30th May 2008, 11:51

    ago- this is the biggest story in f1 right now, especially in between the grand prix’s. any decent f1 site are covering it. if you dont want to read it, dont no one is forcing you are they

  14. It is certainly boring – that is what they want(mosley that is) – if people get bored with an incident – then others can then quietly let the matter drop and sweep it under the carpet – the present and past governments have done this for eons – but could anyone meet this person and shake hands with him without thinking what those hands had been used for?

  15. Keith
    (1) I never sais MM should stay, in fact I said the exact opposite (see
    comment #14 :
    “Now if you ask for my opinion I believe he should have left the FIA, but that is another story. I am not in favour of mob killing that is (even not) good for Iran and certainly not for Western Europe….”

    (2) tell me what the “huge” consequences could be. Give me just 3.

    (3) Not to offend you but autosport did 64 out of how many exactly? And you did 18 out of….?

    (4) My search on keywords shows that there are nuch more articles about Lewis Hamilton in Monaco, 9 times more in fact. And out of the 322,000 about Mosley 1/3 are from the UK… and obviously you guys (Brits) you do not represent 30% of the Internet, so you are over-represented in these numbers, showing obviously that this subject is more a concern for the UK than the rest of the world…. It is common practice for anti-democrats to say that justice is rotten…

    @Michael K : Lawyers are not all honest and good, but people with your kind of theries (not necessarily you!) are rarely honest and good.

    @Schuma…. : My way of dealing with things I don’t like is NOT to avoid them, but to answer them. We I read something I don’t like I don’t stop reading, I discuss and challenge people. Now you are free to do what you want but I’m not prepared to ignore the things I don’t like.
    Even more: when I read things I don’t like in a place that I usually like (great place Keith! honest!) I react more because I care!
    Thanks to let me expres my point of view ;-)

  16. Ago – Sorry I got your point of view wrong on whether Mosley should step down. But I’ve made my case that I think it’s a story worth pursuing and that the coverage of it on this blog is proportional to the other coverage and I stick by it. There doesn’t seem to be many other people complaining about it.

    I doubt very much it will be the last article about the story on this blog.

  17. Thanks Keith ;-)
    Not to go on, but rather to help me to see things I can’t see could you tell us a little bit more about the huge consequences. Seriously I don’t see what can happen.

  18. Ago.

    “Democracy, our freedom is based upon Law and lawyers. Showing no respect for them is insulting. You are the procecutor and the judge that is not good justice is it?”

    You sound like a lawyer. Are you? As I agree with many of your points of view, I also think you are a little mixed up with some concepts.

    1:Democracy. It is political system. It is based in RULES agreed by the majority, and given to many powers to rule. Lawyers, prosecuters and judges are a part but not all of them. Democracy do not mean Justice. Could be more or less just than others political systems, but not Justice.
    2:Freedom. Is not democracy, if fact some people think that Democracy is the dictatorship of the Law. You are more o less free in our “Democracy, our freedom” but you are not completely free. In fact without money you are absolutely NOT FREE.
    3:If I do not respect to Bush, Putin, Blair, Aznar, Chirac, Berlusconi………. am I insulting because they all were “legitimately elected”? if not, why should I respect lawyers, judges, prosecutors instead? I only accept them as needed elements to put a bit of light whithin our complicated political system, and thats all.
    4:Justice. “The quality of being just or fair” Do not missunderstand with
    “justice, (JUDICATURE). the administration of law; the act of determining rights and assigning rewards or punishments;

  19. Keith what is going to happen if MM does not step out?

    So far, already five years since Bush invaded Irak. What happend?. So far, to us nothing, more than we have started to pay the war with the increments of goods, petrol, mortgages, price of money and so on. Terrorism strikes everywhere but we all get up in the mornings and carry on with our lives. When you watch TV everyday is difficult not to get depressed, my way is to zap to the sports channels after the news and enjoy with Nadal, Rossi-Pedrosa-Lorenzo trio, F1 races, NBA, some football matches and so on. I also enjoy snooker, can you believe it?

    MM does not take any part on conversations within my friends, and I do not hear anything about him except in the media. I cannot see how this little matter in this world can make any impact.

  20. Michael Counsell
    31st May 2008, 4:50

    The Max Mosely sex scandal case is interesting regarding perceptions and laws regarding prostitution, alternative sexual practises, freedom of speech in the media, privacy rights, public relations etc.

    The actual voting is by comparison quite uninteresting and I agree with ‘alan’ that this is probably a good tactic, but I doubt everyone is coordinated well enough to pull it off that effectively.

  21. Agree I was a bit quick on my explanations as this is a F1 blog and nothing else. On top of that I am not mixed up, I am foreign and english is not my language ;-)
    The point I was trying to make is the following:

    (1) Our democraties are based on free elections and the independance of 3 powers (apologise for choosing wrong words, I’m french and not familiar “technical” vocabulary) Executive (“the government”) Legislative (“the parliament”) Justice (“the courts”)
    The law tells what “can be done” and how it can be done. The parliament makes the law, and the Justice applies it.

    The Law can be discussed, opposed, changed this is normal (and this is what Parliament is made for).

    The lawyers (advocates, judges, procecutors) make it happen… As such they must be independant and protected. Denying the law, pretenting it is corrupted was always the “excuse” for extremists…. I agree it is far from being perfect, there are corrupted “lawyers” but until we find something better (
    may be Rabi or Michael K have some good ideas they are prepared to share with us) we have to stick to this.

    FIA is an organisation with rules and elections. MM is the elected president, it is the responsabily of the General Assembly to decide what they want to do with him now. The FIA is a legal stucture obeying the laws it is fully entitled to made its own decisions.
    We might agree or disagree with these decisions, but only members have the right to make decisions. Period.
    Is is exactly like the government, you might approve or not a given decision but it the government is democratic you have to obey the decision… until you change the government, with a new election, in the hope it will be better.

    (2) What MM does in his “bedroom” is none of my business (providing nobody is hurt and no law is broken)

    (3) the matter being now (widely) public there is even no possibility of blackmailing him ;-) the blackmailing would have been a very good reason to ask for his resignation as somebody threatened cannot do his job properly.

    You can leave me a message (and anybody here can!) on my blog as I believe we are well beyond the limits of Keith’s patience ;-). thanks again Keith!

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