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SEPTEMBER 11, 2004

Mosley explains his retirement U-turn

FIA President Max Mosley turned up at Monza and explained to the Formula 1 media about his decision to un-retire himself after his announcement at Magny-Cours two months ago when he said that he would stand down from his role in October. During that press conference Mosley complained about the F1 team changing their minds.

"I am not a Formula 1 team principal so I don't change my mind every few minutes," he said.

A few days later he reversed his decision.

"At Magny-Cours I told you all that I was going to resign in October and that there was no going back on this decision and then two weeks later I went back on the decision," Mosley admitted. "I was completely determined to go. I really did feel that I'd had enough but fairly soon after that - in fact by the time of the British Grand Prix a week later - there was pressure from all sides of the FIA to stay, not perhaps so much because they all long for me to stay - that's not for me to say - but because it had become clear that there was no real succession."

While this is a credible enough argument, Mosley did address the issue during his Magny-Cours speech.

"Within the FIA I've had a quite extraordinary level of people saying 'Don't go, it's fine, please just stay on'," he said. "But I think it's exactly at that moment that you should go. It's when they start saying 'Maybe it's about time the old boy went' which they have in other organisations, then it's already too late. It's the moment and I've seized it."

While Mosley's propaganda machine was busy in Monza leaking letters of support for Mosley to selected members of the media, it remains clear that there is still a substantial body of opinion within the FIA clubs which believes that Mosley should not stand for re-election in 2005, an option which he is clearly keeping open.

Attitudes have also hardened in the F1 paddock because of the politicking which has been going on over the rules. This may not be right and it may not be fair but there is no doubting that the sentiments do exist.