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Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 16:39 UK

Ferrari boss makes Mosley U-turn

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo
Di Montezemolo's comments have impact because of Ferrari's influence

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has given his backing to motorsport boss Max Mosley just a day after he had called for him to resign.

Mosley won a vote to remain president of governing body the FIA on Tuesday, despite being caught in a sex scandal.

Di Montezemolo indicated on Wednesday that he felt Mosley should still quit for the sake of "credibility".

But on Thursday, Di Montezemolo said: "I am happy Max Mosley has been confirmed as president of the FIA."

He added: "Through the years he has done an excellent job for Formula One. With regards his future, it will only be up to him to decide if and when to take a step back."

However, those comments are at odds with what Di Montezemolo told news agency Ansa the day before.

Di Montezemolo became the first Formula One team figure to urge Mosley to quit since the vote when he said: "He should realise that sometimes it is necessary to say to yourself I have to leave for reasons of credibility."

Max has always ruled by fear but I think more people will be likely to take him on after this

Bernie Ecclestone
Formula One boss

His remarks carry added weight because Ferrari are powerful within F1 and have traditionally had a close relationship with the FIA in general and Mosley in particular.

And it had seemed they would increase the pressure on Mosley to resign to avoid risking damaging F1 and the FIA.

But it appears Di Montezemolo has moved to smooth things over with his change of stance.

Toyota have also called for a line to be drawn under the scandal, for the sake of the sport.

At the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, the manufacturers issued a strong statement condemning "any behaviour which could be seen to damage F1's image, in particular any behaviour which could be understood to be racist or anti-Semitic".

But now the FIA vote has taken place, they want the matter brought to a close.

"Toyota Motorsport acknowledges the result of the Extraordinary General Assembly and accepts the decision taken," said a statement from the Japanese manufacturer.

"Now that the FIA membership has expressed its view we hope that motorsport is able to conduct its activities unhindered by scandal, controversy and negative publicity."

Several major motoring organisations have either threatened to withdraw from the FIA or have already suspended relations.

In the wake of the vote, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone expressed fears that Mosley may no longer be able to function in his role.

Ecclestone, a close associate of Mosley for nearly 40 years, added: "I hope that it will not destabilise sponsors and the constructors."

He added in the Independent: "I knew he would win but I still don't think it's good for him or the FIA.

"He said he wanted to finish at the end of 2007, and then the end of this year, before all this happened.

FIA president Max Mosley
Mosley is under pressure despite his win in Tuesday's FIA vote
"Max should stand down in November. For me, it's a difficult situation because I run the Formula One group of companies and the teams - the manufacturers - are violently opposed to him.

"But 62% of the automobile clubs that make up the FIA voted to retain him.

"Max has always ruled by fear but I think more people will be likely to take him on after this." And former F1 boss Eddie Jordan said Mosley continuing in office would make it even harder to attract new sponsorship to F1 in an already difficult economic climate.

On Tuesday Mosley won 103 of 169 votes in a process he called after the News of the World reported that he had taken part in a "Nazi-style orgy" with prostitutes.

Mosley, the son of former British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, accepts he visited the prostitutes but denies there were Nazi overtones.

He has launched a legal action against the newspaper alleging defamation and invasion of privacy.

Before Tuesday's vote, Mosley had been asked by the rulers of Bahrain not to attend their grand prix and was shunned by the Monaco royal family at the Principality's race in May.

Ecclestone stated: "What highlights the problems he may still face is what happened in Monaco.

"Prince Albert made it very clear that he did not want him on the grid and that he would have security around him so that if Max did appear they could not be seen together.

"But I have no doubt that Max will be able to deal with that."

Ecclestone added that Mosley did not want to sign a new form of the Concorde Agreement, the document by which F1 is governed and which expired at the end of last year.

"We want Max's signature on a new document," he said. "He doesn't want to do that because he feels he has more power if he doesn't sign.

"But he doesn't need more power. The big manufacturers know just how much they want to spend, to be competitive.

"We just need to write that regulation and move forwards."

see also
F1 boss fears for Mosley future
04 Jun 08 |  Formula One
Mosley set to face vote on future
03 Jun 08 |  Formula One
The manoeuvres of Mosley
04 Jun 08 |  Formula One
Mosley should go, says Ecclestone
31 May 08 |  Formula One
Mosley sues over Nazi orgy claim
28 May 08 |  UK News
Mosley scandal 'has disgraced F1'
19 Apr 08 |  Formula One

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