Honda F1 website

AUGUST 6, 2004

Politicking with the blazers

Max Mosley might want to stand for re-election in October 2005. An interview with the 64-year-old FIA President in F1 Racing magazine quotes Mosley as saying that he had no intention of such a thing but that "there's significant pressure from all sides of the FIA saying I should. But if I do, I think it will be as part of a team of three people - one doing the sport, one the touring and one doing not nearly so much."

There is no doubt that in recent weeks there has been considerable politicking going on within FIA circles as the various parties involved feel out how much support they have among the automobile clubs. Cynics might suggest that Mosley's idea of a triumvirate would be the perfect way to rid himself of his major opposition within the FIA by offering them jobs in 2005, without actually letting go of the reins of power himself. The touring role would be perfect for America's Robert Darbelnet; while the sporting role might be just the thing to calm down France's Jacques Regis, the most vocal Mosley critic on sporting matters in recent months. The arrangement would also be a perfect situation for Mosley's coterie of helpers, who are all keen to stay on in their very comfortable and well-paid roles with the federation and its various related entities.

The danger for Darbelnet and Regis is that Mosley would still be left in a role in which he could intervene in either sphere and their roles would be meaningless if he chose to use that power. In order to accept a deal with Mosley they would need to trust him completely to allow them to run the federation.

Darbelnet is now 52 and could wait another four years to get the top job (although he will be well aware that Mosley became FIA President at the age of 53). He will also know that there is no need for any alliance if he can get the support he needs to be elected president in his own right in 2005, which is not impossible.

Regis is older but knows that he could get the sporting role by supporting either Darbelnet or Mosley and so much really depends on whether or not he is serious about wanting to reform the way the sport is run or whether he will simply be satisfied with a fancy title under Mosley.

"Mosley lives in his glass bubble and makes decisions by himself and with his staff," Regis said recently. "They are certainly of a high level but they ignore all those on the ground. A federation is an association of clubs and this federation must defend the interests of those clubs. Today we are faced with a federation which imposes its decisions on the clubs and defends its own interests. That is the root of the problem. My number one aim is to go back to the true values of the FIA. There is a desire and a need for debate."