Piccinini to stand down

Marco Piccinini, the FIA Deputy President for Sport, has confirmed that he is to leave his position, one year before the end of his term, officially this is "in order to focus on his other professional commitments" but it is clear that he has been doing this for years. This means that the move is either related to the fact that Max Mosley wants someone in the office for a year before he stands down in October 2009 or Piccinini has problems that are requiring more of his time. Earlier this year Germany's foreign intelligence agency, Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), announced that it had acquired a list of 1400 names of people who had money secretly invested in Liechtenstein charitable foundations. Among the names found on the lists were those of various members of the Piccinini Family. Piccinini, an Italian by birth but a Monaco resident, runs a private bank in Monte Carlo. The Principe Société de Banque de Monaco was once used by Enzo Ferrari and as a result of that connection Piccinini became sporting director of the Ferrari F1 team in the 1980s. He later became a member of the FIA and in recent years has been Deputy-President of the federation. According to FIA sources there are no problems with Piccinini and the tax authorities in any country, which is good news because the FIA could do without any more scandals given the adventures of Max Mosley in recent months.

The appointment of a successor will be watched closely by FIA members as it will give a clear indication as to whether or not Mosley intends to honour his promise to step down in the autumn of 2009. The signs are that he will but a weak candidate replacing Piccinini will suggest that Mosley will try to hold on to power by transferring some of the power of the office to a new role, probably in the FIA Senate. A strong candidate will be seen as the anointed successor of Mosley and will indicate that Mosley really intends to go into retirement.

No-one is bargaining on a strong candidate at the moment.

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