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JUNE 7, 2004

Mosley plans FIA revamp

The FIA President Max Mosley has written to all the member clubs of the federation, proposing a major restructuring. Mosley wants to divide up the work of the FIA President so that the World Motor Sport Council is chaired by the FIA Deputy President. We have acquired a copy of the letter which states that Mosley has found it increasingly difficult to combine the two roles of the sport and the political role at the FIA and argues that the FIA President is needed more in the political role than in the sport but could if necessary act as a mediator if there are disputes within the sport.

There is no doubt that some of the arguments do have some logic but at the same time they would mark a major reduction in the power of the sporting federations at the FIA, power which they have held since the 1970s when the original sporting commission of the FIA became the Federation Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA), a semi-autonomous body in charge of all sporting matters. This was the invention of Frenchman Jean-Marie Balestre who became its first president. Balestre then fought FOCA for control of the TV rights in Formula 1 and the compromise which resulted brought a large income into the FIA coffers and the power that came with the arrangement meant that by 1986 Balestre was in a position to be elected FIA President. Five years later however Mosley beat Balestre to the presidency of the FISA and in 1993 a deal was struck to merge the two organisations under Mosley's leadership.

For the last 11 years Mosley has run everything, negotiating the sale of the TV rights in F1 for the next 100 year and using the money generated to fund the establishment of the FIA Foundation and more recently, creating a new FIA Institute to conduct research for the sport.

Now Mosley wants to split the sport and the motoring divisions once again, in part to enable him to complete the merger with the AIT, which is not keen on being involved in the sport. This would make the FIA to only international body representing the motorist.

The proposals are to go before an FIA General Assembly on July 1 and if adopted the FIA-AIT merger could then be completed in October when the AIT would vote on the merger. The new structure would only come into effect after the FIA elections in October 2005. This would mean that FIA would have the chance to nominate a new FIA Deputy President if there are clubs opposed to the current incumbent Marco Piccinini.

The move will no doubt help Mosley to win another term as the FIA President as it will reassure the AIT clubs that he is not going to allow the sport to continue its domination of FIA activities.

Obviously Mosley has someone in mind for the role of Deputy President but at the moment it is not clear who that might be. It is unlikely to be someone who is not on the current World Council. The current members include Piccinini, Monaco's Michel Boeri, France's Jacques Regis, India's Nazir Hoosein, Australian John Large, USA's Burdette Martin, Sweden's Lars Osterlind plus the likes of Turkey's Mumtaz Tahincioglu, Germany's Hermann Tomcyzk, the head of karting Yvon Leon, the chairman of the manufacturers' commission Gabriele Cadringher and man called Jean Todt.

Mosley might prefer to have one of the old guard who have acted as his lieutenants for many years and would be easily controllable or perhaps he feels that the position would suit Todt as and when he retires from Ferrari. Todt could become Mosley's deputy for a few years and then take over from Mosley as FIA President. A couple of years running the whole Ferrari car company will not look bad as a credential to members of the AIT.