Street Fight
Monte Carlo 2018
Monaco Grand Prix
Mosley ready to talk, is FOTA listening?
Mosley ready to talk, is FOTA listening?
Posted By:   |  21 Jun 2009   |  3:44 pm GMT  |  18 comments

FIA president Max Mosley said today that he was ready to start negotiations with FOTA to try to get F1 back on track after the teams opted to start a breakaway series.

“We are talking to people all the time,” he told BBC’s F1 programme. “It will all be back to normal, it’s just a question of when. We are very close. What divides us and the teams is minimal and really is something we could sit down and iron out very quickly.”

Mosley was very active with the media in the run up to the race. He was clarifying comments made yesterday by Bernie Ecclestone yesterday that if the teams signed up for five years the budget cap idea would go out of the window. Mosley said that what Bernie meant to say was that if the manufacturers, not the teams, sign up for five years then the budget cap idea will be dropped.

This is their way of putting the manufacturers on the spot, getting them to commit, implying that they doubt the manufacturers’ long term commitment, which

The FOTA team principals I spoke to said that there hadn’t been much talking since Friday and that they feel they have the upper hand now and the FIA is ‘backtracking’. It’s still quite finely balanced and it will be interesting to see if anything happens on Wednesday at the world council meeting.

The commercial people in F1, the sponsors and TV execs all say that they desperately want a solution to this quickly. So too do the new teams because it is hard enough to put a new team together and raise money, without doing so with instability all around.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

“How does their actions vis-a-vis F1 compare to the extent they get involved in other forms of world motorsport such as WRC, WTCC?”

WRC is practically destroyed and WTCC was on the brink of break up/collapse earlier this year after FIA decided to play with turbo pressures…

The fact of the matter seems to be that FIA has a tendency to kill off motorsports series by modifying rules first and thinking later, if ever – All nominally in the name of better competition and cost-cutting…

…though one might see some rule changes (eg. one tire manufacturer in F1/WRC) as something quite else: Just think how often removing competition has actually lowered costs?

btw. Here’s a short description of the WTCC fiasco:
“The reduction of the turbo pressure limit to 2.5 bars (with no tolerance) at the race held in Pau left the team with no chance of being competitive after the drastic power loss compared to the previous races, where the limit was 2.9 bars. For the Valencia race, the FIA established a new turbo pressure limit of 2.7 bars, and this decision was known seven days before verifications were made. Despite the short lead-time, SEAT Sport has worked hard to adapt their cars to the new application of the rules.

Besides, the FIA has rectified and explained how the pressure limit rules will be applied for the engine revolutions of all the cars racing in the championship.”

Source: –


“Psst, Just change that date to 2014 Max, no one will notice, then we have got them in our clutches again, we can continue bleeding the venues dry whilst asking them to spend money improving the facilities. We can make them dance to our tune.”

I think it will be that act of changing the date that will be hailed as the final straw when we look back at when the split became irrevocable. It signifies a basic dishonesty, how can the man who did that and the guy at his elbow, egging him on, be trusted to work for the sport and not themselves. They give the firm impression of megalomania and greed respectively.

It will not be so easy to start a new series, there is a lot of work that Bernie’s many companies do that we do not see.
No doubt Bernie will be busy reserving all air transport to all the FOTA venues just in case he needs it.


Like an old canvas overpainted. A new clean canvas will create new ideas, better ones.


Mosley has appeared to me to be quietly disintegrating not so much before our eyes as the television cameras. Bernie’s take seem to be that the FiA/FOM series is the professional one whereas FOTA is run by a bunch of amateurs yet the exact oppostive comes over to anyone following the press releases and comments to camera.

I was especially impressed by Whitmarsh, who seems to be growing into his new role and deals with the press with some degree of aplomb.

The ‘loony’, in more ways than one, outburst was rather ill thought-out and it makes you wonder if Mosley is talking with anyone with PR expertise. Whatever the cause, in TV presence he is by no means the man he was five years ago. I find it rather uncomfortable and morbid to watch his deterioration.

Brawn’s decision to go with the manufacturers is rather brave, especially as it would appear to have cost him his sponsorship deal. Still, there must have been little doubt that Branson would not be in for the long haul.

Brawn’s comment about the FiA being legally obliged to be the regulator for any new series might possibly be a sign of FOTA’s intent. It certainly is the most logical arrangement. On top of that, Mosley whould be hard put to surmount that loss of faith.

Something has got to happen soon if the FIA do not want to loose the major teams. FOTA must be priming not only circuits but other investors and it must be sooner rather than later contracts have to be signed. One wonders if an ultimatum might be presented to the MSA board.

Whilst Molsey has a strong power-base in the FiA, it might well appear to them that he is less Svengali and more Sven from I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue – no real power and there to laugh at rather than with. Isn’t there a saying about sinking ships? Wednesday might well prove a surprise for us all.

The FOTA teams have made it clear that they are not considering compromise, nor are they willing to accept promises of what they might be given in the future. Their options seem clear to them.

Whilst FOTA’s remarkable bonding has surprised me, I still think it could be broken. Unfortunately for Mosley, the offer that would be most likely to split them is his resignation.

I am no fan of Mosley. I think he has sriously damaged the sport I love and have followed for 43 seasons. However, the man is, in my opinion, struggling. He should be given a way out. Let him keep his position as president, although his authority should be limited considerably. Restart FISA, a completely autonomous unit, ostensibly run under the FiA banner, but with responsibility initially for all FiA ‘World’ formulae and then, as time goes by, everything about motor sports.

I know it is rather like giving the man a revolver and asking him to do the right thing but he is the master of his own downfall. F1 has had to deal with the fallout from his actions over the years so it is only fair that he has to as well and at last.


The question is rather: when will Mosley REALLY listen to the teams at last?


I share the feelings of Gilraen, but Mosley must go, and the back of CVC must be broken, because CVC will continue to cast a dark shadow over the future of F1.


James I know you have to report what Max and Bernie say, but us hardened fans who’ve watched these guys for 20 or 30 years just no longer trust what they say.

Mosley may be ready to talk … but I suspect the only thing he could say that would resolve this situation is stuff that he can’t bring himself to say. “We are talking to people all the time” is just window-dressing that he & Bernie know will be picked up in the mainstream media and present them as “reasonable lads who’re just poorly misunderstood”.

This whole saga flows from a number of unwise [mod] dealings between the FIA and Bernie and Bernie’s moneyed mates. To date, I’m afraid, I’ve been disappointed about the poor level of critical journalism about these dealings. For example:
* Why would the FIA grant Bernie a 99-year lease to the commercial rights of F1? Selling the rights for that length of term is just lunacy.
* If the FIA were decided then to sell the rights for that length of term then why not run an open contestable process? Why rush it through with, effectively, just Bernie able to bid, while others don’t have sufficient time to mobilise?
* Is it true that Max has recently become wealthy, to such an extent that he’s moved to Monaco? Where did Max’s new wealth come from?
* What should be the true role of the FIA vis-a-vis Formula 1? Shouldn’t their primary role be to just oversee the safety standards of the cars & tracks? How does their actions vis-a-vis F1 compare to the extent they get involved in other forms of world motorsport such as WRC, WTCC? Or is it different when Max’s mate runs the sport?

When will the mainstream media take a critical look at some these dealings? Or are they all too worried that they’ll lose their paddock access?

PS. I work in private equity (but not for CVC). I understand the commercial arrangements in place. I can understand why the teams might revolt against their perceived unfair slice of the pie. I think CVC took a big risk (aka were greedy) with their arrangements around F1, and have set in train a course of events that will crater their returns on this investment. I have no sympathy for them – one of the golden rules is not to kill the goose that lays the gold.


If Mosley’s ready to talk, why is he deliberately continuing to do his best to cause friction, publicly referring to half the FOTA teams as “loonies”, and further implicating Briatore as the loonies’ representative who is trying to take over Ecclestone’s position? (See BBC Silverstone qualifying and race coverage). Why does he not acknowledge that the teams are all publicly agreeing that his planned rule changes are bad for the sport – even the only two teams from which he’s been able to obtain unconditional entries?

Frankly, I don’t believe Mosley is ready to compromise or even to talk constructively. He’s just making yet more misleading statements, hoping to sway public opinion against FOTA by pretending they’re being needlessly obstinate.

This is no different to Mosley’s previous insistence that the teams sign up under his new changed rules, with an empty promise that the rules would then be changed back to 2009-spec. That was never anything more than a PR stunt, with Mosley knowing all along that what he was suggesting was completely untenable to the manufacturer teams. The rules rollback would never have happened after they re-signed, because new teams had already joined up based on the implementation of those new rules. Those new teams wouldn’t have agreed to roll the rules back because to do so would be to eliminate their chance of instant competitive performance.

Thus Mosley’s goal here seems quite clear – and it is threefold. He is trying to turn public opinion against FOTA, trying to cause internal friction with which he can break FOTA’s unity, and trying to run down the clock so as to ensure FOTA’s members run out of options.

I for one hope he fails. If the manufacturers get an alternative series together, I’ll be watching it – and I will no longer be watching Formula One. One person alone will be responsible for that fact – Max himself.


The FIA are stuffed and FOTA , Bernie and CVC know it. I have been keeping an eye on several forums and from what I have read, the best part of 80% of people support FOTA and not the FIA. FOTA know this and Max knows this. Viewers will follow FOTA and the FIA will be responsible. Bernie would have had a good old chat to Max, and I would not be surprised if this continues on Bernie will tell Max to bugger off and side with FOTA. This will leave the FIA in shambles and as the villain. CVC will be happy, teams will be happy. If this doesn’t get sorted properly this time around, we will have the same issue in 3 or 5 years.
The reality is the teams are getting screwed, they provide the show and attraction for the $$$ and don’t get the $$$ they deserve. F1 generate revenue of 2.7 billion dollars and the teams are lucky to see 500 million not even 20% of total income. Without them there is no revenue. A normal business operates on 15% profit, not 80%. No wonder the teams are getting annoyed. Why should they invest the millions for somebody else to make the cash. They can easily do it themselves.


Isn’t there really nothing to do, it only takes to read Mosleys last comments and everyone should understand that he’s not ok in the head, he’s lost the touch with reality. Could it be something to do with the tragedy of his son? Most popular motorsport series in the world, millions of viewers and fans and it only takes 1 crazy old man to destroy it, unbelievable!


Max is desperate to convince us that everything is going to be fine and the fans really don’t want a FOTA breakaway. The BBC don’t want a breakaway as they are worried it’ll leave them with a series as interesting as watching Compo going downhill in a bathtub.

Brawn has spoken out that FOTA is concentrating it’s efforts on the breakaway and not wasting time talking with the FIA. Whilst Flav and Howlett have been very vocal about this you can tell that Max was referring to these two when he called some of them loonies. So it’s refreshing to hear Brawn say as much.

And on every fan forum I have seen 70-80% of the fans are in favour of a breakaway. Howlett said they were aware of this on Saturday.

Bernie continues to act dumb in front of the camera. And as funny as he is to watch we can all see through the about turn they’ve taken over Silverstone. Which makes the pro-Silverstone comments from Stefano even more important.

How about a Fia vs FOTA poll James?


I read something on The Mole blog on the BBC F1 site which said that Mosley and the teams had agreed to sign up to F1 until 2012, but when the forms arrived he had changed the date to 2014. I’ve become accustomed to dubious tactics being used in F1 negotiating but I didn’t think Mosley could stoop quite that low. Can you confirm this?


There’s always at least three layers of complexity and counter deals with anything Bernie does, he is rather like Johnny Kidd the legendary UK wrestler. He used to roll himself into a ball on the floor and then stick out a foot or a hand, his opponent could gain no other purchase on him so grabbed the proffered limb and suddenly found himself being wound into a contorted painful shape as Johnny uncoiled himself to stand upright. Signing a Bernie/Max contract must be like that.


Well, so do the F1 fans.

As for now I’m with FOTA. Stick to your guns guys and get proper governance out of this. A fair share of the money and proper F1 rules which do not change every season.
Let’s have racing once again (euh, that means overtaking :-)) in stead of empty grandstands and processions on tracks.
With Max now -reportedly backing down on sueing them- giving in, I’d say go for it FOTA!

Top Tags