BBC Sport motorsport


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 13:51 UK

Mosley caught in Ecclestone row

Max Mosley
Mosley has missed the last three races following the allegations

Motorsport boss Max Mosley has become tangled in a high-profile row on his public return to Formula One.

He is under pressure to quit after a newspaper accused him of partaking in a "Nazi-style orgy" with prostitutes. He denies his deeds had Nazi connotations.

Now commercial rights owner Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at Mosley's suggestion that the future of F1 could be jeopardised if he is ousted.

Mosley was in the paddock on Thursday ahead of Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

The 68-year-old held private talks with several team representatives.

Former champions, manufacturers and automobile clubs have called for the International Automobile Federation (FIA) president to resign since the tabloid revelations in March.

The Crown Prince of Bahrain asked him not to attend the Bahrain GP in April after the scandal broke and he has been snubbed by the Monaco royal family this weekend.

If Max wants me to be the enemy he should be very careful because if he makes me an enemy I could make sure he never whips anybody again

Bernie Ecclestone

The Monaco race, a social highlight of the F1 season, is the first GP that the Monaco-based Mosley has attended this year but the governing FIA has already said he will not perform official functions.

Mosley faces a confidence vote by secret ballot of the FIA general assembly in Paris on 3 June.

Last week he sent a letter to the presidents of the FIA's member clubs claiming the future of F1 and the FIA could be jeopardised if he is ousted.

The FIA is renegotiating the commercial rights to F1 and Mosley says any instability in the presidency would give Formula One Management, which is owned by Bernie Ecclestone, the chance "to take over Formula One completely".

It drew a stinging response from Ecclestone, who said: "He is just lashing out at anything he can.

"If he wants me to be the enemy he should be very careful because if he makes me an enemy I could make sure he never whips anybody again.

"What he says in the letter is wrong. What Max is saying to the clubs is they are idiots, that not one of them could do the job."


In a letter to the FIA member clubs seen by the BBC, Ecclestone dismissed one by one the accusations Mosley made in his letter.

He said the letter could lead to "misunderstandings and inaccurate conclusions".

Specifically, Ecclestone denied Mosley's claim that the holders of F1's commercial rights - himself and an organisation called CVC Capital partners - wanted to take over the role of regulating F1.

He said the commercial rights holders recognised the FIA "is, and should remain, the sole body governing international motor sport which governs the sporting organisation of the FIA Formula One World Championship".

And he dismissed the suggestion that F1 was facing a financial crisis.

I have to say I'm very surprised how many angels there are around here, especially in Formula One

Gerhard Berger
He concluded the letter by saying that none of the issues raised by Mosley had "any bearing" on the vote of confidence Mosley faces.

"You may be assured that whatever decision you make on 3 June, we look forward to continuing our long-standing and constructive relationship with the FIA and its president in pursuit of a stable and successful F1," Ecclestone wrote.

Meanwhile, Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger has become the first team boss to say he thought Mosley should stay on.

"I think it's an entirely private thing," said Berger. "It's something that has happened with grown-up people, nothing which is against the law."

The Austrian added: "To connect this to the job of Max Mosley, as an FIA president, I don't think is right."

But Berger came out in support for a man on friendly terms with his team's co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, the Red Bull energy drinks billionaire.

"I think there is nothing to comment on," said Berger. "I have to say I'm very surprised how many angels there are around here, especially in F1.

"Suddenly, everyone seems to be very clean and very nice."

Berger, a former Ferrari driver, hailed Mosley for his positive impact on the sport, particularly with regards to driver safety.

"The sport needs a strong guy, a competitive guy, someone who understands the business," said Berger. "And we definitely have this with Max and hopefully we will have in the future."

Mosley is suing the British tabloid News of the World for breach of privacy.

Meanwhile, British Motor racing legend Jackie Stewart says he does not expect the FIA to vote out Mosley but has called on him to stand down.

"I have got a bet on with somebody," said Stewart.

"I say that the FIA will not vote him out."

He added: "I just don't understand why he can't see that this is a straightforward case of, unfortunately, you've got to stand down.

"And I'm very surprised that even the FIA don't see that themselves."

see also
Hamilton heads up Monaco practice
22 May 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
22 May 08 |  Formula One
Alonso chasing Monaco hat-trick
21 May 08 |  Formula One
FIA to probe Mosley 'Nazi' claims
06 May 08 |  Formula One
Dennis denies Mosley scandal link
01 May 08 |  Formula One
Mosley will have to go - Stewart
28 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Ecclestone ups pressure on Mosley
27 Apr 08 |  Formula One
F1 anti-racism campaign launched
24 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mosley aims to stand down in 2009
20 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mosley scandal 'has disgraced F1'
19 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mosley future hinges on key vote
09 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mosley 'orgy' injunction refused
09 Apr 08 |  UK News
Defiant Mosley takes on critics
05 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Pressure mounts on Mosley to quit
04 Apr 08 |  Formula One
FIA to hold Mosley crisis meeting
03 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Defiant Mosley vows to fight on
01 Apr 08 |  Formula One

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites