Max Mosley, the controversial former president of the FIA, has died at the age of 81. He had been previously been diagnosed with cancer.
Mosley remained in the role until the end of 2009, when he chose not to seek re-election.
During that period, Mosley presided over a period of intense scrutiny for the sport following the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in 1994. Mosley pushed through a series of changes to cars and tracks intended to improve the safety of drivers.
His uncompromising approach put him at the centre of numerous controversies over the following years, not least the bitter fall-out over the 2005 United States Grand Prix, where all bar six cars withdrew due to concerns over tyre failures.
By 2009 the FIA was locked in conflict with a group of teams as Mosley attempted to introduce drastic new rules intended to reduce costs. It was during this time the News of the World, a British tabloid newspaper, published extraordinary details of his sex life on its front page.
Although Mosley resisted pressure to resign over the report, he did not seek a further term as president, and Jean Todt was elected in his place at the end of the year. Mosley went on to fight a successful lawsuit against the News of the World, which later closed after details emerged of the phone hacking practices employed by its journalists.
However Mosley returned to the public eye in 2018, when details emerged of a campaign leaflet he published in 1961 advocating racist policies. Mosley, the son of fascist politician Oswald Mosley, told Channel 4 at the time: “If that leaflet is genuine, I am responsible for it and it shouldn’t have been issued.”
He is the subject of a documentary about his life, “It’s Complicated”, which is due to be released in July.
Todt said he was “deeply saddened by the passing of Max Mosley.”
“He was a major figure in F1 and motor sport,” Todt continued. “As FIA president for 16 years, he strongly contributed to reinforcing safety on track and on the roads. The entire FIA community pays tribute to him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
A Formula 1 spokesperson said: “We are saddened to hear that Max Mosley former FIA president has passed away. A huge figure in the transition of Formula 1. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”
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