FIA President sees crisis as attack on his authority
In light of the crisis shaking Formula One apart and the announcement of a breakaway series, FIA President Max Mosley is strongly considering his re-election this autmun.
Concluding that the Formula One Teams Association's
tactics are an attack on the authority of his office, the Briton has sent a letter to all member clubs of the FIA on Tuesday in which he explains his take on events.
Ahead of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday in Paris, Mosley is positioning himself as the subject of a campaign led by the eight rebel teams aiming to rid themselves of his presence.
Last year, during the heated debate surrounding an intrusion into his personal life, Mosley had declared he would not seek re-election at the end of his mandate. But in Tuesday's letter, the FIA President strongly blames the FOTA members for trying to undermine his authority and clearly indicates he will not be stepping down under pressure.
"Over recent weeks it has become increasingly clear that one of the objectives of the dissident teams is that I should resign as President of the FIA," Mosley wrote. "Last year you offered me your confidence and, as I wrote to you on May 16, 2008, it was my intention not to seek re-election in October this year."
"However, in light of the attack on the mandate you have entrusted to me, I must now reflect on whether my original decision not to stand for re-election was indeed the right one."
Mosley reminded the member clubs that the decision to elect or dismiss him is entirely theirs and theirs alone: "It is for the FIA membership, and the FIA membership alone, to decide on its democratically elected leadership, not the motor industry and still less the individuals the industry employs to run its Formula 1 teams."
With FOTA adamantly opposing his controversial 2010 regulations, and then being publicly backed by automobile manufacturers as they demanded a greater part in the decision-making process and a change in the way F1 is governed, Mosley considers the whole operation as a direct assault on the FIA's jurisdiction.
"This is an attack on the FIA's right to regulate its Formula 1 World Championship," Mosley stated. "But, worse, it is a wholly unjustified criticism of and direct challenge to the entire structure and purpose of the FIA."
"No President of the FIA could allow this to go unanswered," he underlined.
Following the FOTA breakaway series announcement, the FIA had declared its intention in bringing the eight rebel teams before the courts for presumably violating several laws. The sport's governing body then quickly pulled back on the matter as it offered to continue with crisis-solving talks.
However, the FOTA alliance was recently very clear in saying that the decision to split from F1 had been made, that there was nothing more to discuss with Mosley.
The FIA's legal proceedings therefore remain on track, Mosley's letter confirmed: "We are also preparing legal proceedings in case these are needed to protect the FIA's rights in its Championship and to discourage any dissident Formula 1 team from engaging in illegal acts."
Mosley also brought up the subject of cost-cutting, justifying his radical budget cap plan - which sparked the whole crisis and the FOTA members' eventual departure – as a necessary measure in order to prevent the sport from relying solely on manufacturer teams.
"A reduction in costs is essential if the independent teams are to survive," he indicated. "Without the independent teams, the championship would depend entirely on the car manufacturers who, of course, have always come and gone as it suited them."
Mosley continued his reflection on the current situation: "It is extraordinary that at a time when all five manufacturers involved are in great financial difficulty and relying on taxpayers money, their Formula 1 teams should threaten a breakaway series in order to avoid reducing their Formula 1 costs."
Despite the promise of support already given by the car manufacturers - in addition to the revenues of a breakaway series being distributed amongst the participating teams - Mosley believes the boards of the involved carmakers will not accept the financial risk of setting up a new championship.
"It remains to be seen whether the boards of the parent companies will allow precious resources to be wasted in this way," the FIA President mused.
Following the FIA's World Motor Sport Council reunion on Tuesday, the eight FOTA members (Renault, Ferrari, Toyota, BMW, McLaren, Brawn, Red Bull and Toro Rosso) have scheduled a meeting this Wednesday in order to take preliminary steps in setting up their new championship, which will also feature the great majority of F1's current drivers.
Since the breakaway plans were announced several circuits have displayed interest in hosting the series, including former and current venues. Television broadcasters have also been looking into their Formula One contracts, aware of the apparent public support regarding FOTA.
Bernie Ecclestone is now attempting to save his empire, with the rebel teams and their drivers decidedly heading in a new direction on one side, and with Max Mosley intent on standing firm on the other.
The prospect of seeing a common resolution to the crisis seems a faraway possibility at present.