APRIL 19, 2008
Webber says Mosley Scandal has brought the sport into disrepute
Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber has condemned the Mosley Scandal.
"The current scandal has brought the sport into disrepute," Webber told the BBC. "Whether we like it or not, all of us in Formula 1 are role models and F1 simply cannot have scandals of this type. He is in a very influential position and it's a very important role that he has. It makes it difficult when any of these sort of scandals are involved, when they become public. It will be more challenging for him to do his role."
Webber is the first F1 driver to have spoken specifically about the damage that has been done to the sport and it appears that he is speaking from his own point of view and not as a representative of Red Bull. This is clearly a risk for Webber but he obviously feels strongly enough about it to have made a statement.
While Webber has a perfect right to his opinion, one wonders whether remarks made by the Porsche Family have quite the same validity. The German media has made much of Wolfgang Porsche and his cousin Ferdinand Piech giving their opinions about Mosley's activities. Piech has long been a major player at Volkswagen and Porsche has had a significant shareholding in VW for many years, and is currently in the process of taking it over. Piech attacked F1 for being too expensive (which is fair enough) but Porsche said that in his opinion it would "not be very savoury" for the Porsche company to get involved in F1 now as a result of "the affair with Max Mosley and the women".
While the Porsche company is a major player in motor racing and in the process of winning control of the entire Volkswagen empire, it is unwise for anyone linked to Volkswagen to be too righteous in these matters. Three years ago the company was seriously hurt by a scandal involving corruption, sex and company-financed "pleasure trips" for members of the powerful works council. These allegations led to the resignation of works council chairman Klaus Volkert and the company's Director of Personnel Peter Hartz, as well as the dismissal of several leading managers. According to the public prosecutors office, in the space of two years, some $937,000 in unauthorised expenses were paid to works council members, including payments for visits to brothels during trips around the world. Every three months, VW transferred $27,700 into the bank account of Volkert‘s Brazilian girlfriend.
Such activities enabled the company to slash costs, as the works council agreed to job cuts and other unpopular measures.