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JULY 2, 2004

An elegant exit

Max Mosley went in front of the Formula 1 press corps in Magny-Cours to explain his sudden decision to retire as FIA President and left no doubt that there is not chance that he is going to reconsider his decision. Mosley said that "my task is done and I have a sense of satisfaction. The time has come. It is the moment and I've seized it. I started thinking seriously about it a year ago and I decided in the Spring that i would not stand again in 2005. I made the real decision about three weeks ago. I am a bit sad. It is the end of an era but things move on. People change and to hang on is a mistake. I have achieved everything I set out to achieve. After 55 years of people trying, I have managed to merge the FIA with the AIT to create one federation. I have made the federation a significant player in Brussels and turned the FIA into a world organization. I have established the FIA Foundation with $300m from Formula 1. That will do research. Half the money will go towards imporving road safety and half will go into motor racing safety. I spent eight years building up the EuroNCAP crash test programme. The one thing lef to do is to sort out F1. That is going to happen and I did not want to face another year doing things that are somewhat mundane."

Mosley said that he was optimistic about the future of F1

"I am very optimistic for F1. These measues will solve the problems in F1. The racing will get better."

Mosley could not stop himself making a couple of gentle digs at some of the F1 team bosses, complaining that their inability to make decisions was very frustrating and time-consuming. He referred to one team boss, describing him as "not the sharpest kinife in the drawer" who goes to F1 Commission meetings with "a manager person" who Mosley described as being "a detail man" who wastes endless time with irrelevent details.

"It is not a paid job," Mosley said. "I have done it out of interet and you get to the stage when you have had enough of that. Should not stay in a job that doesn't really satisfy you."

Mosley also said that some of the team bosses "were made rich despite themselves" and said that "They've all become extremely rich on a Monopoly board which someone made for them. Fundamentally they're not all businessmen."

Mosley did not refer to the recent criticism from Jacques Regis but did make the point that there are "a number of people who see themselves as a possible successor" but did not mention any names. He said that the challenge in the recent World Council over karting was "a trivial matter" and said that the FIA has "largely lost control" of karting because it is "not very well managed" and said that proposals to sort out the problems had been rejected by the council members but said that this was "not significant". Mosley also confirmed that he withdrew his proposal to restructure the role of the president when it became clear that there was opposition to the idea.

When all is said and done Mosley gave a polished and credible performance and set the stage for a graceful departure in October.