Max Mosley: five more years? (Poll)

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Max Mosley at the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix

Max Mosley is planning to run for election as president of the FIA once again this year.

Should Max Mosley remain FIA president for five more years?

  • No opinion (4%)
  • No (90%)
  • Yes (6%)

Total Voters: 955

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Max Mosley was elected president of the FIA in 1991, ousting Frenchman Jean-Marie Balestre who had held the post since 1978, and after 13 years in the job his presidency was widely considered a bit long in the tooth.

But now Mosley has been heading up the FIA for 18 years and, if he completes another five-year term, by 2014 he’ll have spent 23 years in the job – a full decade longer than Balestre.

Has he been in the role too long? Has he done a good job? Would five more years of Mosley be good for Formula 1?

Max Mosley as FIA president, 1991 – ?

He has seldom been far away from controversy during his 18 years heading up the FIA. From the infamous memo at the 1993 Canadian Grand Prix declaring that all the cars were illegal, to the rush the introduce new safety measures in the wake of Ayrton Senna’s death the following year, to the Indianapolis fiasco in 2005, "Spygate" in 2007, and "Spankgate" last year, the FIA president has often made bigger headlines than the racing has.

Alongside the controversies Mosley has been at the centre of fierce debate over F1’s technical rules. He has argued that F1 must serve as a test bed for green technologies, and that other innovations should be strictly regulated to prevent costs spiralling out of control. But this could risk destroying the essence of Formula 1 and the core of its appeal.

He has made U-turns on some of the most controversial changes he introduced to F1 earlier in his tenure – such as re-introducing refuelling and banning slick tyres. I’m thrilled to see slicks returning this year and refuelling banned in 2010, but these changes should never have been made in the first place. And he certainly didn’t have the same mania for green technologies in 1999 when the FIA prevented McLaren from using an early KERS on their cars.

If he does stand for election again, his victory is surely a guarantee, as was made clear last year when he easily survived a confidence vote of the FIA senate following the sadomasochism scandal.

During the scandal he appealed to many people who considered voting against him by saying he would step down in 2009. It’s hardly surprising to see him go back on his word, especially as he did exactly the same when he first promised to step down in 2004.

Should he stand again? Who would make a better president of the FIA? Would we miss him if he left? Have your say in the comments.

Read more about Max Mosley: Max Mosley biography

Image (C) Red Bull / GEPA

Author information

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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41 comments on “Max Mosley: five more years? (Poll)”

  1. Yorricksfriend
    5th February 2009, 19:39

    I think the votes speak for themselves

    1. 89% of 100 voters against at the moment. We’ve not had a poll this one-sided in a while…

  2. Now ask about Bernie – time to go too. Lets have people running this sport who understand the times in which we live.



  3. All – Didn’t I tell in various discussions on this forums,all that stance for cost cutting, making sports viable, better share of profits to teams, were standard ploy which Spanky Max uses to Size up all the teams and get them on his side.

    Once elected he will forget about all these initiatives till next elections, and go on his implementing his own whims till next election time… And wait somewhere mid-term he will definitely give public a false hope by public statements about walking into Sunset.

    Old Trick of Old Dog. This time around what that has accomplished is FOTA on his side and Bernie against him, things will change once he gets new term

  4. Terry Fabulous
    5th February 2009, 20:47

    Keith shouldn’t the three options be:
    1. Yes
    2. No Opinion
    3. Dear god No!

    1. I think that Max will raise the issue to the FIA council and the options will be
      a.Of course
      c.Need for poll?, sure
      d.Yes, he hasn’t passed away yet
      e.Forza Ferrari!!!
      f.Yes, but he should increse the staff with more secreteries in order to perform better
      h.No, My name is……..and you can fire me without any thought.

      Max for president…Yes he can!!!

    2. Number 3 was my first reaction !

    3. Really, the options should be

      1 – No
      2 – No
      3 – No

  5. I voted against him staying and I think it is disgusting that he still has his job after the last scandal broke. To be perfectly honest, I never was a big fan of the late Mr Balestre, but Max Mosley during the last five years has made too many enemies.
    To his credit back in the 1990s, Mosley did make F1 safer in the years after Senna and Ratzenberger were killed, but that now seems a very long time ago.
    To be honest, Mosley now is a bit of a joke. He has lost all his credibility, and in doing so, has seriously damaged the image of the FIA and F1.
    The FIA should, in my opinion, have a president for no more than two four year terms, regardless of their
    Mosley, and others around him believe that the masses will always follow their sport because its F1, and that is not the case. They are in a market like all others, were there is fierce competition, and if F1 is not very carefull, it will lose out badly.
    Never was there a better time than in 2008 for a change of the guard, and the powers at be let it pass. It could turn out to be the biggest mistake in the sports history.

  6. Perhaps the most one-sided poll in F1 Fanatic history- it truly shows the opinion of the fans.

  7. I’m actually surprised at how many voted yes. I would’ve thought they’d have at least a good reason to voice.

  8. Anyone that irritates Bernie has my vote, so I say YES to Mosley for five more years. At least he seems to have strong opinions – it would be the end of our sport if there was a FIA chief that did not stand up to Bernie.
    I support a FIA-teams union against Bernie. As for rules, there is nothing that FIA and the teams cannot agree to in a reasonable way if they so wish.

  9. Well it all depends on who the other choices might be. Yes I’d like Max to go, but not if it means we might get Jean Todt (or any other ex-team principal for that matter) as his replacement.

    Also in 2005 the FIA set rules stating that no president can serve more than 2 terms – so why doesn’t that apply to Max? (I guess he’d say that the new 2-term rule only applies to FIA presidents post-2005).

    1. Yes I’d like Max to go, but not if it means we might get Jean Todt (or any other ex-team principal for that matter) as his replacement.

      Agreed. I thought Ron Dennis was spot on when he said the other week that it’s not a job for any former principal to do.

  10. Gah! I am torn here, and undecided – excuse me if I go round and round in circles on this one.

    I have come to resent some of the negative elements of Max’s character of which unfortunately I know rather too much than I should, but that’s like politics – you become irritated with the current bunch running the show that you soon realise that the next lot are just as bad as the others.

    Max is a strong character and has driven through serious initiatives before.

    I think the most serious issue facing the governing body
    today is to save the sport for Financial Armageddon.

    Bernie seems to be rather ignorantly pushing on to squeeze everyone for the last million out there and it has caused casualties – Canada, France & Silverstone.

    I tend to think if we look back at Max’s significant strategies that he has pushed through for F1 they are always reactionary and are always a little too late.

    The safety measures imposed as a result of the 1994 season were too late. Too late to save 2 drivers lives. The cost reduction programe is another example of Max’s fire fighting approach to F1, only when Honda were on the brink did Max start to really enforce his power on FOTA and play his hand.

    And there is that Ferrari love-in that Max seems to enjoy which, despite being denied is always on display.

    Until I know who is next in line I am going to sit on the fence here. f1 needs a rudder to direct it through these times, and unfortunately Max has positioned himself in Ivory towers that means serious challengers to the position are nullified before they can build any serious momentum.

    Are there any serious candidates out there?? Seriously?

    1. I would have thought there were several good candidates within the FIA structure, if only they were to speak up without their least pro-change-of-leader utterance resulting in them losing their power.

    2. Don’t forget Indianapolis on the list of casualties- indeed, the refusal of Max to allow a reasonable comprimise did great damage to the event and to F1 in general. While I would place the blame for those lost venues far more on Bernie than Max, he has done nothing to help the cause.

  11. arthur954,

    Max gave Bernie the commercial rights to F1 for a fraction of their commercial value. Why do you think he annoys Bernie? He is working for Bernie and Bernie is looking after him very nicely.

    Max has been a failure since the start. He is painted as the great safety guru and I am frankly amazed to hear people still repeat this. Take the Senna crash. Senna hit an unprotected stone wall at high speed. The FIA should have protected him from that. This was blatantly obvious because a few years earlier Nelson Piquet hit the same wall at high speed and was very lucky to walk away from it. After that Gerhard Berger hit the wall and his car burst into flames live on TV. No action whatever was taken by the FIA. If Max had been remotely interested in safety he would have been screaming for something so obvious to be dealt with and when elected he should have made sure it was.

    Imagine you were in his shoes that weekend in 1994. Two drivers have died and another is in hospital. It would be insane to do anything other than push safety. All he did was push safety to protect himself.

    Since then despite talking about it he seems to have forgotten the basics. We have had a night race which is unnecessarily risky and now we have KERS which seems to be a much higher risk than anticipated.

    Max has failed on safety. He has also failed the FIA financially. He sold 100 years of commercial rights to F1 for $300 million. Name me another sport that has sold 100 years of commercial rights. Name me another sport that only allows one person to negotiate to buy those commercial rights. Imagine if they were sold on the open market 5 years at a time what they would have been worth.

    Max has also failed miserably on improving racing and overtaking and worse than that still hasn’t a clue how to do it.

    He switched to a formula which put the emphasis on aero grip over mechanical grip and had grooved tyres because that would give better racing. Now we are switching to a formula which places the emphasis on mechanical grip over aero grip and puts slick tyres back on the car in place of the grooves. He has just done the polar opposite of his previous strategy to achieve the same aim. It is insane.

    The sooner he goes the sooner the FIA can be reformed and the sooner a proper investigation can be carried out into the deal to sell the commercial rights. Remember when Max had his little indiscretion and the vote of confidence. He said they should vote for him because he was the only person who could re-negotiate that agreement. Have we heard of any re-negotiations since? No because the man is a liar. At his vote of confidence he said he would not stand for re-election again and now he will because he is a liar.

    The interesting thing is at the original negotiations for the sal of the commercial rights he disqualified himself from participating on the grounds of conflict of interest. So what happened to that conflict of interest that allows him to re-negotiate? Or was he just lying again.

    1. I did not know about the sell of the commercial rights — that is the key issue then. Whoever can look into this issue and hopefully do something about it, gets my vote as head of the FIA.
      Thanks for the info – I am rather new to the world of F1

    2. I am also still new to F1, and the tragic events of Imola 1994 happened when I was very young. I diden;t realise the scope of the deal Max gave Bernie on the commercial rights- that could be a scandal in itself when you think about it. Also, I never knew about the previous crashes until mentioned here. All of your points are very valid, and give everyone more reasons to vote no on the issue.

  12. Steven, please, tell us what you really think! Couldn’t agree with you more. At this point it’s 17 votes in favour. It would be interesting to hear more reasons from that camp.

  13. I clicked “no” because I am sick of his antics, expecting for most people to click yes! Boy was I surprised!

  14. Whewbacca the Cookie
    6th February 2009, 6:19

    Along with all but a few I voted no too… I think Mosley (especially lately) has been tarnishing the image of F1. His departure would be a positive move if not necessary.

  15. Christian Briddon
    6th February 2009, 8:20

    Good things Mosley has done :

    When Senna and Ratzenberger were both killed in the same weekend the world went to Senna’s funeral when they were held on the same day. Mosley went to Ratzenbergers.

    Improved Safety

    Bad things Mosley has done :

    He is still alive
    Everything else.

    1. Ratzenberger’s funeral was a day after Senna and some drivers (Herbert, Berger) attended both funerals, which Mosley could also have done.

    2. I always gave him credit for going to Ratzenberger’s funeral as well, but I did not know about some people going to both. The rest of your post is quite blunt, but gets to the point.

  16. He must go.. 17 years is too much.

  17. I think he must go for all of the above reasons, but also because he spends all his time worrying about F1, and not giving equal time to the other sports that FIA are supposed to be regulating – which may be a blessing in disguise of course!
    He only visited a WRC rally last year for the first time because his name was mud at F1, and as far as I know he has never been to WTCC, DTM, GP2 Asia or any other form of racing.
    This is definitely putting your eggs into one basket, and not seeing the longer view – would you vote for a President who didn’t visit you once while he was in office?

  18. I have wanted Mosley to go for years now. When he took the News Of The World to court it must be one of the only times when I was wanting the NOTW to win.

    To me he comes across as the worst kind of politician, the kind who are in it for themselves and for personal power.

    People may say he has done a lot for safety but anyone else in his position after what happened in 1994 would have had to do the same.

  19. Who are the alternatives, what are their qualifications, and do they really have the intuition foresight and stamina (i.e. in common parlance, the balls and the gumption) to stand up to the teams and media commentators and the fans…

  20. the infamous memo at the 1993 Canadian Grand Prix declaring that all the cars were illegal

    Ah yes, the heady days when the Lola-Ferraris (as the only cars on the grid without driver aides) briefly looked set to dominate the race…

  21. The fundamental problem is not who is qualified to do the job but what the job should be. The President of the FIA should have no involvement whatever with sport. The FIA has two sections; sport and touring. The touring side deals with road safety including things like the NCAP testing of road cars.

    Sport should be run by FISA but Max disbanded that after he had used the presidency of that organisation to mount his campaign for the FIA presidency. FISA must be re-instated to run all sport.

    For me F1 should run independenty with its own board and CEO. It is too different from other FIA/FISA sports. The FIA/FISA should be promoting grass roots sport and running lower level championships.

    The fact that Max spends so much time interfering in F1 simply shows how much he is neglecting his other duties.

    For me the war between Bernie and Max is a construct that allowed Bernie to slag Max off in the papers after his little indiscretion. It suits the two of them to have the world believe they are at loggerheads but I am certain Bernie is still working Max by remote control. He has paid plenty for the privelege and while I have no difficulty in believing that Max would stab him in the back now that Bernie has divvied up is aware that Bernie knows where the bodies are buried to use the Nigel Stepney phrase.

    I am sure Arthur954 and anyone else who is new to the sport will be interested in reading the document at the url below. The important part is paragraph 11 which details an alleged payment from Bernie to Max which co-incided with Max’s sudden need to move to Monaco. The writer Tom Rubython is not known for being reliable but the story was carried by more respected sources at the time.

    Is there still anyone who thinks this liar should be president?

  22. I think my comment has been moderated. I hope it has because I really don’t want to type it all again even if I could remember it.

  23. Max was never a person who promoted safety, he only made those changes to cover himself after his technical rule changes made the cars dangerous in the first place. When Rubens flipped the car and skirted along the concrete wall that should have set the alarm bells ringing but it didn’t.

  24. HRH Mosley should get five more years; preferably in solitary confinement in an institution without corporal punishment or outlets to the media.

    My HRH usage is in recognition of the royal status he has achieved, we will only rid ourselves of his insidious presence by armed insurrection or his untimely passing. That, preferably a heart attack during one of his spanking sessions. Yes, I REALLY despise that man!

  25. Romain from Grenoble
    7th February 2009, 17:36

    I feel that Mosley should run for election again (and I voted yes even though the question is slightly different). For many years I didn’t have any specific opinion about him, but recently I came to the conclusion that I globally agree with him.
    Specifically : he seems to have done a good job on safety. It looks like he reacted after the deaths, if we look only at the 94 accidents, but he did some useful work on the road car side.
    As regards technical changes in F1 (the most important function of the FIA presidency :) ), we can all say with insight that the 98 changes were probably the wrong choice. But predicting aerodynamics was not perfect at the time. I wonder who made those technical changes in 98? Was it a team-FIA association like todays OWG ?
    Anyway, my point is that I globally agree with Mosley’s running of F1 on the technology side, despite the grooved-tyres and aero 98 changes.The 2009 new rules look very interesting.
    Finally, I rather appreciate his political cunning. His (public) answer to the GPDA “show me your earnings” was brilliant.

    1. I cannot agree with you on the safety front, everything he did for safety was as a result of the accidents of 1994, which was too late. Every regulation change he bring in is a reaction to a massive ground swell of opinion from the f1 public. For example, if he had really been on top of the need to improve over taking in f1 then why are we having to turn the cars inside out – Answer, he did nothing worth while during that time.

      On the cost front, he is leading f1 to the brink – He is 12 months / 18 Months too late.

  26. Innar from Estonia
    7th February 2009, 19:07

    So long in one position makes the lazy and comfortable. Then come to any strange ideas – medals, etc.
    I voted – no.

  27. Roman,

    There was no overtaking working group in 1998 and the technical regs came from the FIA.

    The fundamental theory behind them was that if the cars depended more on aero grip than mechanical grip we would get more overtaking. Everyone and I mean everyone outside the FIA panned the theory because it was insane.

    Anyone with more than an absolutely basic grasp on the technology of racing cars knows that the more areo we have had the less overtaking there has been so placing the emphasis on aero over mechanical grip was doomed to failure.

    You have to have much more emphasis on mechanical rather than aero grip. The new regs go some way to redressing that imbalance but the rear slicks are under-specced so the drivers won’t ba able to lean on them as they should and the cars will have to be made nose heavy to maximise tyre performance.

    The only way to get more overtaking is to massively cut downforce. The current regs were supposed to cut downforce by 50% for 2009 which was not enough. Tony Purnell who is supposed to be the technical brains behind Max stated three weeks ago that the team already have 80% of last year’s downforce which tells you how good a job the OWG did.

    Every time the FIA has tried to cut back on car performance they have under-estimated how much performance the teams will gain back. If you or I had been in that situation on a regular basis we would factor into our calculations that the teams will recover more than we think they will so if I wanted 2009 cars to have 50% of the downforce of 2008 cars the regs would have been writtin to give them 30% knowing that the teams would find the rest. Unfortunately the FIA ain’t that smart.

    In 2009 we will have very little more overtaking than in 2008 even allowing for obscenities like push to pass and insanities like adjustable wings. Despite 30 years of trying we still son’t have sensible technical regs.

  28. Romain from Grenoble
    8th February 2009, 16:41

    Ok. Thanks for the info Steven. I was not following the technical details in 97/98, but I do remember Jacque Villeneuve complaining about the grooved tyres.

    As for Max Mosley: I understand that most of you think he is not suited for the job. Then who could replace him?

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