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Mosley pursues Briatore, Webber’s licence at risk?
Mosley pursues Briatore, Webber’s licence at risk?
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Jan 2010   |  6:31 pm GMT  |  85 comments

Former FIA president Max Mosley has spoken out today about the civil court verdict in the Briatore case this week, which ordered the FIA to overturn the lifetime ban on the Italian. He said that the matter was ‘not over’.

Meanwhile the FIA has reiterated that Briatore is still subject to the sanction banning him from managing drivers, which puts Red Bull’s Mark Webber in a tricky position.

Photo: Darren Heath

Photo: Darren Heath

Speaking to the Times newspaper today, Mosley said, “The idea that in the end, when all the dust has settled, Briatore will get off is fiction — it won’t happen.”

In the Telegraph he added, “Remember, the court did not find that he was not guilty. They just didn’t like the procedure we used. But it’s a very preliminary judgement. I think the FIA should appeal the judgement because I think it is seriously flawed in a number of areas.

“Aspects of it are just extraordinary. (Pat) Symonds actually admitted in writing that he was guilty and yet they found in his favour. But that’s only because they are not looking at the substance, they are just looking at the procedure.”

Mosley also dislike the French courts’ assertion that he had a conflict of interests and had pursued a vendetta against Briatore. He said that, “This was all invented to distract attention from the fact he committed the worst example of cheating in the history of sport.”

Mosley’s intervention and the tone of it are very interesting. He is no longer the FIA president – Jean Todt is – and yet he is speaking as if he still were. He appears to be speaking on behalf of the FIA when he talks about the points of principle which are very important to him. But his main motivation for speaking out is the personal criticism, which both Briatore and the court have made of him.

Todt had Mosley’s full support in his candidacy, but he also made it clear that in office he will be his own man. He knew that Mosley would do this interview, sanctioned it even, but it has created a confusion. Who is running the show? There is a risk so early in Todt’s presidency that this episode could be construed as confirming many people’s fears; that Mosley is driving the FIA from the back seat. Mosley still talks of a “handover period” in the presidency and clearly he feels that this is ongoing.

The FIA seem quite calm about this today. Mosley felt he had to intervene, whereas Todt has kept in the background, communicating only by means of an official FIA statement on the day of the verdict. This is likely to be the tone of his presidency and it is also unlikely that Mosley will intervene again in this way, on what appears to be an FIA remit, unless there is some personal angle specific to him. His ongoing role is as a member of the FIA Senate, nothing more.

The FIA has three options now in dealing with Briatore; appeal against the verdict, reconvene the world council or take the case to the new disciplinary court which Todt is planning to introduce. I can’t see the need to appeal, as they can achieve what they want through internal changes without dragging the case on in public.

This verdict, which was a shock to the FIA, will force them to make some changes so that they have some authority over third parties. They can change the statutes so that the FIA can ban non licence holders, they can introduce licences for key men, as I suggested in a post the other day. All options are open and they may well pursue a combination of them.

Webber P1
In the mean time, the FIA confirmed that Briatore is still barred from managing drivers. the Italian said to Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday that he still had his management business. This was not part of the court’s verdict and as far as the FIA are concerned, the sanction handed down in September stands and any Briatore managed driver applying for a superlicence will be turned down. This affects Mark Webber, but not Heikki Kovalainen, who has left the Briatore stable.

Drivers normally apply for their superlicences around the start of February.

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Scorched earth … got to be McLaren.


Well, this Mosley – Todt alliance reminds me Russia’s Putin – Medvedev. Hope it won’t work same way


Who or what is Chechyna in your analogy?


Chechnya is Formula 1. They pretend to care about it, but really it’s just a playground to house their political bickering.


Please stop giving this horrible man a voice.


The Media love him, always a story, regardless of rights and wrongs. Sell papers and be damned!


Max was one of the primary reasons why 97% of the fan base were looking forawrd to a breakaway series…

Max is a reject… and Todt should ensure this old goat is never allowed to speak on behalf of the FIA ever again…

The FIA need to focus on building up crediblity, as right now, it has none…


Couldn’t agree more.


Sorry but like father, like son, an arrogance and contempt for the Law and Justice. If it had all been carried out in accordance with FIA rules in the first place, ALL the cheats would have been punished properly, the sport would be able to move forward. Vindictiveness has accounted for many so-called ‘verdicts’ for transgressions – the McLaren sagas, for example. Remove personalities and concentrate on the correct interpretation of the regulations is Todt’s priority!


WOW i wish this guy would just go walk his dog or do the garden, paint the walls or anything retired people do. Let the man in charge do his job and stop playing that same old tune in the papers, we dont care we moved on, now please would you!!


Ha Ha Now Flav’s lawyer is making statements that the FIA have no chance of winning an appeal and how he has held back so far, for the good of the team!!!!!!!:-) LOL

From his grammar (if not the ebullience) I would guess he too is Italian.


Transition period or not, the FIA should not allow Mosley any leverage at all and he should certainly not be allowed to speak as if he were still president.

I agree, for once with Bernie Ecclestone. This war of words between Briatore and Mosley will go on and on, and risks overshadowing the start of the season which is only two months away.

The smart move for the FIA would be to nip this in the bud and remind Mosley, publically if necessary, that he is no longer in charge and that Jean Todt is. Mosley had his pound of flesh when this scandal broke into the farce that it was, which very nearly destroyed Renault as a competitor in F1. The damage to the reputations of those involved was huge, and lets not forget, that Max Mosley brought disgrace to the sport with his 2008 sex scandal.

Singapore 2008 was a huge scandal, by the sex saga that preceded it got just as much worldwide attention.


I admire Max, love his intellect and the Machiavellian spirit at work. He really is “The Prince”. As for Flavio, how can you all be so seduced by such a performer?

Ah! the joys of this fabulous sport they gave us lots of fun last year while the on track action was a bit predictable.

Jokes aside – looking forward to seeing the “new” FIA doing some good strategic thinking and needful planning as Max did. We ALL want more on track action not just pretty or big name personalities. Time they get regulations together that give us this. The young drivers can fight – we just want a sport where they can fight not just go round in circles.

Max knew what was going on and called the teams correctly. I think some people just don’t like it when somebody ‘nasty’ is right.

I am in a minority here backing The Prince, but felt somebody should stand up for The Prince. Long Live The Prince.


I’ll have what this guy is having! Must be first class stuff.


You’re not quite in a minority, Guy. See my post above. You don’t have to like his outside interests to admire a cool intellect that runs rings around the inflated egos of the IQ challenged pygmies who try to take him on.


In a normal justice system Flavio is innocent until proven guilty. I don’t see how he can be found guilty in any court if Piguet Jnr and Renault can get off scott free, that is not the way justice works in a real world. The FIA blinded by Mosley’s vengeance messed up they need to either pay up and drop the ban so F1 can get back to racing while changing the regulations to prevent this sort of thing from happening again, or retry all those involved so we can discover who Witness X is, it is still impossible to see how they can punish an unlicensed Flavio though, and dish out another soft punishment and immunity for others.

The French courts have more authority and credibility than a mickey mouse FIA they better not start a war with them.


Personally I have no regard at all for Mosley or Briatore. Just thought though,both names would make a rhyming poem, but I can’t be bothered.

I do however feel that the FIA have time between now and February to bring in a rule stating that anyone who manages drivers requires an FIA licence. Simple – FB goodbye!

I think you made that point too James.

Stephen Kellett JAF1

Several years ago, on ITV, there was a TV series named “Ultra Violet”. The premise was that Vampires were taking over the world. You couldn’t tell them from humans, but video cameras couldn’t see them. So the vampire police had guns (firing silver bullets) with cameras on them. If you could see them, but the camera couldn’t, you’d shoot them. I quite liked the series. It ran for one year and despite an interesting end to the series the second season was not commissioned (of if it was, it was not shown in the UK).

The last episode ended with a drop of human blood being added to the ashes of a “dead” vampire. The vampire re-materialised, to be revealed as the hero’s old friend.

I mention this simply because this posting made me think of it. A bit of public criticism and what happens? Max rises from his grave…

The show was ahead of its time, with all the current TV shows seeming to be about Vampires. It was certainly more interesting than the current vampire shows doing the rounds.


Mate what on earth are you talking about??

Stephen Kellett JAF1

I was hoping some people might find it mildly humourous. Failed with you, I see. Better luck next time.


Why Oh why do people give this horrid man publicity ? Mosley is the past and it’s not a good past, good riddance I say.

If he had governed properly, instead as though the FIA was his private toy or plaything then we wouldn’t be reading what the French court has said.

None of us know if Briatore is guilty or not as he has not been tried in any legal and right court, but we do know that the FIA under Mosley got it wrong.


I fully agree with Todt that something has to be done about Briatore in cleansing the sport. But the FIA has to put it’s own house in order first. Mosley has shown time and again where his priorities lay, some demented game of one-upmanship. Mosley still sits on the FIA senate, why?

The problems we are seeing at the present is because Mosley in all his excitement did not do his job properly and heaped further problems upon the FIA.


“Who is running the show?” MM is only proving one of Briatore’s points: personal vendetta.

He (Max) can only be gagged when he no longer has a (media) platform. So it’s up to the media primarily 🙂

I predict that Max has a lot more unfinished business and we will be hearing more of him, unfortunately.


Wont Max ever go away!! I thought we had seen the last of him after Jean Todt took over but seems like he is pulling the strings even after Jean Todt has taken this role


To right ❗


Come on Mark, separate yourself from that disreputable character! I want to see you have some good fortune in F1, you deserve it, but being tied up with him you’ll never know when the shit’s going to hit the fan!

Get a reputable manager that everybody respects otherwise you’ll be dragged down!

Look what’s happened to Nelsino!




Max supposedly was a barrister before he came to be in the FIA yet he doesn’t seem to understand the legal system very well.

You would think that he would know that you can’t punish an illegal act with another illegal act, no matter how much power he thinks he (and the FIA) have.

Oh, I second mac’s wish to gag him forever too


With the greatest possible respect Darren, I have to say is it not conceivable that, as an experienced barrister, Max Mosley has more understanding of the law in his little finger than you have in your whole body?


I think one of main problems from the start has been that Max IS a lawyer. Lawyers are trained always to fight their case. In business and other areas, senior people are more likely to try for consensus and get long-term agreement. Max always appears to tackle things head on and come out fighting. NOT the way to get agreement with uber-successful business men and super egos.


This guy just doesn’t learn. The more Mosley involves himself, the more he vindicates the court word that he was pursuing a vendetta.

Shouldn’t there be a superlicense for oversized egos also?


Strange we have not heard much from Todt he is the president after all I doubt Mark wont get a superlicense. Typical of Max and his grab for attention- I was a big fan in the past for all the safety aspects etc but he never seemed to listen to the fans that much on what we wanted from F1. Correct me if I am wrong.

Lastly would be good to have Flav back. James any plans for a Bernie book in the near future?




Wise move – I certainly would not spend hard earned money on anything about Max and Bernie, unless it contributed to the truth about just what a [mod] force the two are.

These two people took a top quality sport and turned it into a boring circus with ads…



The worst example of cheating in the history of sport? Note to FIA: Max’s perspective isn’t reality. He’s not the president anymore. If he’s not an FIA spokesman, make that clear. If he is, make that clear, too.


Somebody, please put this donkey out to pasture… he has wrecked a great sport, and still talks as if someone give a hoot about anything this crook has to say…

Flavio has far more credibility then Max ever will…


Autosport quoted webber in September – “Mark Webber says he will take care of his own contract negotiations from now on rather than replacing Flavio Briatore.”

I would expect that Mark together with his partner would be able to manage his affairs at this point of his career. Flavio may have some claim over investing in marks early career, but I would imagine that it is in Flavio’s interest to keep Mark in the field.


Yes Matt this was widely reported and James knows it. For a long time now he has for some reason been far from a supporter of Mark and is always fairly begrudging in any praise or recognition of any of his achievements. James is this just a way to try and throw a few doubts in peoples minds about Mark?


You are well wide of the mark there.


This is Max defending his own pride. I’m sure he would say that he’s really defending the Federation. Either way, he is making a grave mistake.

The FIA is NOT a sovereign state. To maintain, as Max apparently does, that the Federation is wholly immune from action by administrative, legislative and judicial bodies in the countries it operates in (ESPECIALLY in France, headquartered as the FIA is in Paris on the Place de Concorde, but also within the EU generally) and can ignore the decisions of those bodies is simply strange. I’m being polite with that characterization. If the FIA loses its appeal; if it then maintains its sanctions; if the Federation then attempts to withhold Mark Webber’s license in an effort to get at F Briatore despite losing at that point twice in court; if they should be so foolish as to do this, a whole can of whupass will be opened on all concerned. And on the Federation in particular.

1) The Tribunal de Grande Instance could well be expected to initiate what amounts to contempt proceedings – levying some sanction against the FIA for flouting the Tribunal’s ruling invalidating the punishments handed to FB and PS. I seriously doubt that the Tribunal would be pleased with another obvious attempt to get at FB, and this time through his client Webber, a driver wholly uninvolved in the Crashgate affair and any of its proceedings.

2) Obviously, FB would appeal, likely to the Tribunal de Grande Instance.

3) Webber would probably have a cause of action. I suspect that French and/or EU authorities would take a dim view of the implications this would have on competition, monopoly/restraint of trade, and contract law. Should Webber choose to fight this in court, that court could well be the Tribunal de Grande Instance. Where he would probably win. Especially because,

4) Max is out there making these aggressive (and, frankly, dismissive) statements about the Tribunal’s ruling, he has again created the appearance, if not the fact, of FIA bias in its dealings with FB and (by extension) MW. Given that the Tribunal de Grande Instance has already cited Max’s conflicts of interest and bias when invalidating the sanctions, that creates an obvious basis for that court to rule against the Federation if any part of this mess gets back to the Tribunal.

Such a tug of war would have grave, maybe fatal, implications for the independence of the Federation. Ironic, given that Max has spoken so much about attacks on the Federation this past year. To prevent this, Todt needs to act NOW and stop the madness. Just come out and say, “You know what? The court said we couldn’t impose sanctions. That’s it, it’s done. We’ll move on and put better procedures in place to handle any future crisis.”

One last point concerns the FIA appeal itself. Trying to win an appeal so that they can hold a new hearing and impose new sanctions on FB and PS amounts to double jeopardy, an effort to keep bringing the same charges until they get the result they want. Max and others were neither as accepting nor enthusiastic as they are here, when this approach was taken by Italian authorities toward Frank Williams, Patrick Head and (I think) Adrian Newey in an effort to find them guilty for the death of Aryton Senna. Going further back, something of the same happened with Jim Clark for the death of Wolfgang Von Tripps.

Letting this run and run brings on exactly that kind of thing, unavoidably creating the appearance (if not the reality) of a vendetta. Todt needs to prevent this. Max needs to avoid this. He needs to sit down, shut up, chill out and have a Coke and a smile.


Superb post Rudy.


Many Thanks Rudy.



To put it politely, I really, really don’t like mosley. How can he say that verdict still stands if it’s determined that process was flawed.


James, you mention the FIA Senate, of which Mosley is now “only” a member.

I’m not familiar with the function of the Senate. Could you clarify what the Senate does and how much power its members (and Mosley) have?

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