F1 Winter Break
Mosley says Vatanen ‘will lose badly’
Mosley says Vatanen ‘will lose badly’
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Oct 2009   |  3:39 am GMT  |  52 comments

The Guardian newspaper is reporting that FIA president Max Mosley has sent a stern letter to Prince Feisal, of the Jordanian Royal family, warning that the candidate he supports in the FIA election later this month ‘will lose and lose badly’. Prince Feisal has been nominated by Vatanen as one of his vice presidents on the sporting side.

The gloves are now well and truly off in the fight to be elected Mosley’s successor. The support of Prince Feisal was quite a decisive win for Ari Vatanen and could change the dynamic of the Middle East quite considerably. Mosley is openly supporting the other candidate, Jean Todt.

Prince Feisal has been hosting a conference this week in Amman on the future of motoring and motor sport in the region.

Sir Jackie Stewart played a prominent role in the conference, calling for a change of leadership. He is very close to the royal family in Jordan; the late King Hussein was godfather to Jackie’s son, Paul. Stewart is a long-time vocal opponent of Mosley.

Mosley’s letter warned that Vatanen’s recent negative comments about his governance and ‘autocracy’ would divide the FIA membership,

“Any thoughts that after this election everyone in motorsport can unite and work together can now be forgotten. It is not possible to make statements like Vatanen’s and then expect the victims of those insults to forget what has been said. The simple fact is that Vatanen will lose the election and lose badly, not least because he chose to denigrate the FIA and those currently in office.”

Prince Feisal is quoted in the Jordan Times saying, “Jordan has always maintained a strong relationship with the FIA president, so I am deeply disappointed by the content and the insinuations of his letter which have raised serious questions as to the credibility of the upcoming and future elections.”

“Jordan was delighted to welcome Max to Jordan for our inaugural World Rally Championship round last year, an event that I am pleased to report will return in 2010,” he said.

He called for the FIA to have an “ethics commission” and said, “I strongly propose that proper bidding structures and processes should be introduced for countries wishing to join major championships like Formula One and the WRC, which will further raise the bar in terms of their quality and organisation.”

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, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

How Mosley is allowed to get away with this I do not know. He is the outgoing President, why should he be allowed to influence the decision of those who can vote for his successor? I would really hate to see Todt [mod] as the new President, but at this rate it's looking increasingly likely.


what the hell is mosely doing writing letters like that? vatanen has raised serious, and pertinent questions about max's control and governance within the FIA, and pretty much everyone can see that he's spot on. this further cements that feeling. they way i read prince feisal's comments is that he is deeply unhappy with mosely writing to him to say that the candidate he supports will lose, and lose badly, rather than that he is unhappy with what vatenen has said. adding that he wants to create an ethics commission further reinforces the feeling that he has taken exception to this letter and to mosely (and lets face it, unless mosely was running it, there's no way he'd survive any kind of ethics commission).

[mod] i for one think he should not even be making public statements about who his successor should be, let alone actively supporting him and getting his right hand man within the FIA to co-ordinate his leadership campaign. i just hope that others (those that do have votes and can influence the decision) see it the same way, and agree that we need to get max as far away from the FIA now as possible, that includes todt by association. this is the FIA's only chance to become a properly run and well respected organisation. [mod]


I assume this was meant to be a private letter James? [mod]


Dot matter, private or not. He should just let them get on with it. Its not like his political party, maybe he thinks it is !!

I think Max has spolit his legacy of late. he could have been remembered for massive improvements in safety and dragging the FIA away from Balestre, now he is politcally damaged goods IMO


Petulant and childish, as per usual.


Mosley's behaviour simultaneously defies belief and yet fails to surprise.

I will be so glad to see him gone, but I'm rooting for his choice not to replace him - solely because if Mosley wants Todt in, that's an indication that Todt is NOT what motorsport needs.


James, am I right in thinking that a man who is the sole arbiter of a secret ballot for the world's top motor racing position should not be send letters of this sort to anyone, let alone someone who is on a ticket?

Paige Michael-Shetley

This whole election is really amusing. Everyone involved seems to have a much higher opinion of themselves than is justified, when in fact they have very little relevance to the vast majority of people in the world. Yet, they are acting is if the election is for Secretary General of the United Nations.

For the good of F1, everyone involved in the leadership of the FIA should eat a sizable slice of humble pie. All of the non-racing mess the sport has dealt with for so long is down exclusively to the egos of the people involved.


I've been thinking the same thing. How important do these people think they are? This is just one sport and the way Mosley acts you'd think his position was actually one of power. In reality his influence extends to a small group of people who can simply walk away and do something else if they wish. And the influence he did have has been diminished recently thanks to FOTA. He comes across now as a sad bitter old man. Yet his arrogance prevents him from seeing this.

I'm for Vatanen, simply because he is so different and does seem to show some humility. Maybe what the FIA really needs to do is ask the fans... I bet a fan poll would look very different from a poll of those delegates that do have a vote.


Good post, I agree 100%. The problem however is [mod] Max and Bernie conspiring to ensure that it meets their requirements, not the requirements of motor sport and it's long suffering fans. Max has manipulated it so effectively that he can virtually pre determine any outcome he wants. It is hard to imagine how this can be changed for the better. I suspect that Todt is already home and dry, Max and Bernie will be looking forward to more of the same, and the sport will continue to suffer.

I suspect we were much closer to an implosion in F1 this year than many might imagine and it probably would not take a lot for that to reoccur, next time perhaps with catastrophic results.


1. I'm fed up with these undemocratic antics and with how Mosley seems to think his behavior is normal.

2. What is Mosely afraid of in case Vatanen wins?


2. how long have you got...?


I don't know about Todt as a PR man for FIA president. When he spoke as Ferrari head man, he always seemed cagey and defensive. Vatanen seems more transparent and forthright.

Don't know if Todt's English is as good either.


Vatanen doesn't have a chance.

The current clique at FIA is too, hmm, keen to hold on to the power to let some unknown person take over the biz...And that's what it is: Business, not sport.

Of course, in my opinion, having a fresh face who's capable of appreciating other forms of motorsport beside F1 would be more than welcome: WRC is pretty much dead, WTCC suffers from ever changing rules, etc...I suspect that even F1 would gain back some of the racing pedigree it has lost.


On topic of Räikkönen: I've read in the local papers that Andrea Stella (who I think is his race engineer) has commented very favourably on Räikkönen's skill with the F60 car recently.

Any chance of getting a more indepth view from Stella about Räikkönen's performance at Ferrari this year?


Mosley changed the voting regs so that the incumbent, or the person he supports, would have a massive advantage over a challenger.

It is rather ironic that under the current system Mosley would not have been elected when he went again Balestre. And perhaps we now know the reason it was changed.

Mosley is in an unpaid position of an organisation which appears, if one looks at the current state of F1, WSC, WTC and WRC - the British stage of the WRC has just 50 cars running - to be failing miserably. And he has the effrontery to write to a head of state and, it would seem, not only to criticise a decision he has made but to ‘warn’ him.

This man is a king. Mosley is what?

There is a subtle difference between self confidence and arrogance. Nice of Mosley to take such an extreme stance so that the difference is apparent to all.

Not so much the gloves coming off as the mask.


The way Bernie and Mosley behave towards Vatanen is the biggest proof of the fact that F1 really is an autocracy.

I really hope that Vatanen will win, but as Mosley just explained, since F1 is an autocracy it will be impossible.


It is appalling that Mosley is able to attempt to influence the election of his successor by effectively suggesting that anyone backing Vatanen will be ostracised in the event of a Todt victory (the subtext being "vote for Todt or else"). This is a clear sign that Todt is little more than Mosley's puppet candidate, and that the latter would continue to exercise significant power "behind the throne" after the election, leaving the FIA every bit as autocratic and opaque in its decision-making as ever.


I would have thought that this letter has done far more harm than good to the Todt campaign.

Whatever was Max thinking? that he could somehow intimidate the Prince into changing sides?

Poor Max is going to feel very lost when the Presidential spotlight turns off in three weeks time, although I see he is now giving interviews to London free papers..... [what is that on his sleeve?] and will most probably go on giving his opinion, wether asked for or not, rather like his predecessor did.

The letter pretty much sums up how he, and the FIA have worked over the last, goodness knows how long.

Time for a change!


Vote Ari!


Is it so hard for Mosley just to keep his mouth closed? How can he allow himself to write this?

"It is not possible to make statements like Vatanen’s and then expect the victims of those insults to forget what has been said."

Sure he knows what he is talking about.

Really, if I had any doubt on whom I would vote for, this letter would have given me the last push. GO ARI!!!


"Any thoughts that after this election everyone in motorsport can unite and work together can now be forgotten. It is not possible to make statements like Vatanen’s and then expect the victims of those insults to forget what has been said."

That's pretty rich coming from the man who called Jackie Stewart "a certified halfwit", Ron Dennis "not the sharpest knife in the box" and so on and so forth.


I guess the debate about whether or not he should stay impartial as the outgoing president has escaped Max entirely!

I really like Prince Faisal's reply! Not a lot of people seem prepared to talk to Max this way...


The only thing I like about Mosley is his mesmerizing voice. He's a great hypnotist. Guess that's how he has been clinging on to that seat for 20 long years. Other than that, he is total rubbish & I think he must keep his fat mouth shut for the good of formula one.


Always reminds me of Peter Mandelson, another Dark Knight!


I think he's got at least 30 iq points on anyonne else ... smart sneaky b**tard .. maybe the letter shows that he is concerned Vatanen has a better chance than most thing, but maybe he's also right that if Vatanen came to power the whole scheme will fall apart. I think that a dictortorship is the way to go for FIA/F1 if you trust that the guy at the top knows whats the right thing to do, Max is right I'd say maybe half the time...


Mosley regularly comes accross as an angry spoilt little child in his vitriolic and unprofessional outbursts. He regularly demonstrates through his [often unfortunate] successes that he must be a very able politician. However, if this is how he does things it's amazing he continually gets away with it! The whole organisation has clearly become his personal 'Gentleman's Club' with him weilding total power over all the satellite organisations that require his patronage. "If you want a rally in your country, sir, you will have to kiss my a55..." does not seem the correct way to run an international federation. It's more like him as the head of some bully boy gang with all the geeks trying to curry favour to be in with the in crowd.

Certainly he should not be allowed in any capacity to be involved in an election in which he is not standing (unless, of course, one of the team bosses upsets him again in which case he'll re-announce his candidacy... ...again...)


Shouldn't that be whip his A55?


just read some more about this on autosport - basically mosely goes in the letter to suggest that those member clubs that support vatanen will be ostracised from the FIA, assuming vatanen does not win. sadly, i think it's very unlikely that he will, mosely just fights way too dirty (he'd have horseshoes in his boxing gloves!) for vatanen to compete, but isn't it fantastic that someone of importance and standing at least has the will, and the guts, to try and take on this fight, and expose the rot at the core of the FIA.

and it's almost as if others who are not in favour of mosely have been given strength and that there is now a feeling of unity and support of those wanting to come forwards and make their views publicly known. never as much as now have i agreed with what the likes of pitpass have to say - but then they admit they don't have paddock passes, mosely is not able to threaten them. i wonder how much more will spill out when mosely finally steps down (and away from the power in the FIA), when people can say what they really feel without the very real threat of retribution.


James, reference is made above by John to the subject of press pit passes. I, and I suspect others, would appreciate your observations and experiences of this topic. Have journalists lost access as a consequence of unfavourable views?

Certainly Pitpass make a virtue of the fact they have nothing to lose because they have no passes.

It makes you wonder just how stage managed this so called sport has become.


I think that is overplayed


So no journo's have ever been denied passes for "political" reasons?


i think the threat, perhaps not the reality is there. can you shed any light on what martin vs max following brundles claim that the investigation into mclaren had the hallmarks of being a witch hunt. strong rumour has it that the FIA opposed his continuation in thet commentator role...

David Drinkwater

This man Mosley is [mod]. Having achieved power over the years he is reluctant to leave the scene. Had it not been for his crass judgment last year, no doubt he would have gone on and on creating problems in the F1 world.

One can only hope that the more influential people are working away in the background to prevent this underhand confusion[mod].


For me, this incident underlines just how much motorsport needs a real change at the top of the FIA. In no other sport in the world would the head of the governing body show such partisan support for one of the contenders who might succeed him and it's a clear demonstration of how motorsport is governed by a handful of big egos who form an old boys' club, rather than committees of duly elected representatives who have reached their positions on merit.

Motorsport in general, and Formula 1 in particular, desperately needs to break with the past and make a fresh start. While I have nothing against Jean Todt, I feel he is very much part of the current establishment and no real change would come of his appointment as FIA president. I feel Ari Vatenen would be like a breath of fresh air for world motorsport; a real racer, a man of integrity and someone who is well equipped to deal with the political wranglings seemingly required of the office.


Surely Mosely's outrageous behaviour can only reonforce the need for change. It's unbelievable that the FIA president can behave in this way.


I would love to know what headed notepaper this letter was sent on. I have professional dealings with a number of MPs and Lords and there are strict rules as to where lines are drawn as to official business and politicking.

Sadly I can't imagine that Max and the FIA have any such ethical standards.


Utterly disgusting behaviour, I naively hope this further outrage may tip things against Todt and his friend Max, you can but hope. One analysis I have seen thought this bizarre move smacked of desperation [mod]. God I hope so, for the future of F1.

Pitpass, a site not given, or dependant upon FIA passes, so free to tell it like it is, said today they have caught wind of another move from Max..... Someone was allegedly recorded running engines at above allowed RPM at the 2009 Italian GP. This "news" is allegedly planned for release just before the election. I wonder which one of Mad Max's remaining enemies he is after this time ?

Pretty obvious isnt it ?

Could Alonso have just signed for a team that will be banned or otherwise sanctioned in 2010 ?


That story has been the rounds, but don't you think the teams, with their ultra sensitive acoustic measuring devices, would be straight onto something like that? It would have come out at the time


The very fact that Max wants him to lose is the most pertinent reason why he should win


I think that Mosely should be held under house arrest, incommunicado, until the election is over.

His flagrant disregard and distaste for any kind of equality or fairness is such that anything he says must be viewed with even more suspicion than usual. Will he next have all the stewards an race marshals campaigning on behalf of mini-mosley?

If he has a shred of decency he will make a public apology [mod] and tell all eligible vote to disregard any preferences he has shown so far.

It is looking more likely each day that a deal [mod] has already been dome between Todt, Ecclestone and Mosely which benefits them exclusively. I don't suppose that's illegal, but it stinks almost as much as a giveaway of rights for 100 years.


Seems to me there is a faction of fans who are just ANGRY and want CHANGE ... Here is a behavior guide to spotting them ..

1. They supported Bernie getting rid of Max when he had the call girl scandal

2. They supported FOTA against Max

BUT ....

3. They stood on Max side when he wanted to get rid of Flav

4. They also think Bernie is out of touch and should be replaced as per Sorrel

5. They probably drive BMW's or Toyota's (joking....) and refused to acknoeldge that they did their fans and employees a great disservice by refusing a budget cap and then telling you they are actually broke and have to quit (if Toyota does indeed quit.....)

Just look at Obama and see how choosing "change" just for the sake of "change" is working out...


Off-topic, but Obama isn't doing too badly considering the mess he was left by the previous administration...

...kind of like F1 now actually.


I'm sure Obama is doing very well for himself thank you very much !



Any idea why they are even having an election at all?


and to provide balance, i don't think max is worthy of polishing jackie stewarts shoes.


Hi James,

(on a related note)

When FOTA were considering splitting from the FIA one of the reasons cited for their discontent was that some teams were owed money by Bernie...and Bernie was refusing to pay.

Do you know whether they ever got paid?


Yes I believe they did


Two comments:

First, i think it will be interesting to see how Jean Todt deals with this. Will he ignore it, hoping it will go away as a "scandle" and therefore not further sway those who are looking for a cleaner FIA? I'm sure that his/Max's expectation is that some of the obviously implied threat will be heard loud and clear by other's tempted to vote for Ari - and that it will make them "fall into line" and vote for Todt. Or will he try to distance himself from this - especially from Max's statement that Todt would, presumably, be wholly incapable of uniting the FIA post-election? Isn't that how democracy is supposed to work - people vote for their favoured candidate and then accept the result and unite behind the new leader - whomever that might be...? Either way, it is astonishing (even after everything else) that Max could act in such an unacceptable way - and that he is allowed to by rules, protocols or even his favoured candidate.

Second, and not directly relevant to this issue, it seems to me that the rules of the FIA are crying out for change to put a restriction on the number of terms or years that the president can "govern". If there was, say, an eight year/two term maximum there would be much less risk of a personal fiefdom being created and going down this woeful path that Max has led the FIA. That, in conjunction with a change in the appalling "you must have a unique and complete cabinet nominated to stand for election", would surely support better governance by the most able people. As with ALL governments of any political hue, over-long periods in power lead to a sense of entitlement, corruption and a dearth of good ideas.


Rules brought in by Mosley some time ago limit the tenure of president to two terms. It would appear that he gave himself immunity in such matters.

Given the authority of the president as set up under MM, such limits are a paper exercise.

And guess who brought in the 'complete cabinet' requirement. As you say: appalling.

We should give Mosley his due and not slander him: I don't think there has been any significant increase in corruption or dearth of new ideas in the FIA since taking complete and utter control.


Extremely weird modding of my post earlier. (I would have done it differently)

The more I read about what Mosley is saying-threatening, the more I realise that he is ranting, I am amazed that a doctor and a policeman have not been called to section him.

Now we read that any one who votes against his choice will be suffer afterwards. Has he been to Afghanistan recently? One might think that he himself, was trying to hang on to power. These goings on are worthy of a banana republic, and definitely not of the FIA. Mosely is bringing the FIA into disrepute.

His antics make the FOTA breakaway look like a church fete.


I don't know how others feel, but to me this letter from Mosley reeks of desperation. Almost as if they can sense it's slipping from their grasp.

Anyone care to agree or disagree?

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!