JULY 5, 2005

Mosley and Stoddart

Max Mosley and his troops like to make fun of Paul Stoddart, calling him "a sad case" and trying to laugh him off as being a ridiculous figure. But the Minardi team boss is a danger to the FIA President - as he showed earlier this year in Australia.

Of all the team owners in F1 Stoddart is unusual because he does not have to worry about big sponsors, powerful figures in the automobile world or any of the other things that make the other F1 team owners less likely to rise up in rebellion.

The most dangerous people are those who are independent and have nothing to lose.

However, it is worth noting that when the Michelin teams gathered in Paris the other day, at the Ledoyen restaurant on the Champs Elysees, the people present drank a toast to Stoddart for his willingness to put himself in the firing line to represent the interests of the F1 teams.

At the French GP Stoddart was unusually quiet, leaving the political scene to the other team bosses and to the drivers.

Stoddart did, however, have a dinner for members of the British media and although we did not attend the event, it is clear that the Minardi team boss gave the troops a story for the days running up to the British GP, a period during which the sport receives much more attention than normal. Only the Monaco GP has a higher profile.

Stoddart's point was simple.

"The teams have had a gutful of Max," he said. "Either he goes or F1 as we know it today will go. It doesn't matter who replaces him. If Max does not resign then I am not staying in F1. Life is too short to be involved in this political s**t. That's it as far as I am concerned. I will finish this season off and see what happens. If Max stays, I am going to put the team up for sale."

Mosley will no doubt be delighted to hear that.