MAY 16, 2008

Mosley drops some explosive hints

FIA President Max Mosley has sent a letter to the FIA club presidents around the world, going into details about why he has not resigned and why he must be allowed to stay on until the end of his mandate in October 2009.

We have acquired a copy of this letter.

It makes explosive reading.

Mosley begins by saying that he has had letters from clubs representing 85 votes at the General Assembly (this is slightly less than half of the votes that will be cast) and says that 13 of them suggested that he should resign while 62 urged him to stay. He nonetheless accepts that his tenure of the office of FIA President needs to be examined by the General Assembly, but argues that he should be given the chance to finish the job he has started.

Indeed, he argues that it would be "irresponsible, even a breach of duty, to walk away from a number of negotiations currently under way, all of which are of fundamental importance to the FIA".

Mosley then goes into detail about the talks regarding the 100-year agreement with the F1 commercial rights holder; the discussions over the Concorde Agreement and the negotiations surrounding the commercial rights for the World Rally Championship and various regional rally series.

He reveals that the Formula One group has asked the FIA to accept changes to the 100-year deal, in order to "reduce its liability to tax" but has also asked for the right "to control F1 regulations and to be allowed to sell the business to anyone."

Mosley says that the he does not believe that the FIA should agree to these demands and argues that his resignation would result in instability during the period in which a new president would be elected which would slow down or even stop these talks.

"A new president would then take over with no knowledge of the background," he said. "And, worse, might perhaps have been elected with the support of the very people with whom we are negotiating."

He argues that to agree to the demands of the Formula One group would be to "abandon core elements of the FIA's patrimony", such as the federation's ability to protect traditional Grands Prix. He also says that to give in would be to put at risk the financial viability of the FIA as a regulatory authority, which would in turn damage the FIA's ability to continue to push its public policy agenda.

On the question of the Concorde Agreement he says that the FIA should not be willing to accept any veto from the F1 teams in the rule-making process.

"I do not believe we should concede," he says. "It must be the FIA, not the commercial rights holder or the teams which decides the regulations."

Mosley says that the FIA should only sign a new Concorde Agreement if it "reinforces the authority of the FIA and deals properly with the major financial crisis which appears imminent in F1" and adds that "only with fair and realistic financial arrangements will we avoid losing more teams".

This is radical talk as Mosley appears to be suggesting that the teams should be getting more money than the 50% that is understood to be on the table.

He goes on to say that he believes it is important to "recognise that there has been a struggle for control of Formula 1 that goes back to the original Concorde Agreement in 1981", and that he has fought for the rights of the FIA throughout his term as president.

This leads on to a highly explosive suggestion.

"It is possibly for this reason that the media has been encouraged by those who have an interest in undermining my presidency" he says, adding that the General Assembly's decision about his future should not reward those "who have deliberately set out to destablise the FIA at such a crucal time in its history."

Mosley is hinting, for the first time, that the revelations about his private life may be somehow related to the commercial negotiations that have been taking place in recent months and may have been used to try to get rid of him.

The letter goes on to point out problems that we have already reported about some of the touring clubs in the FIA looking at "a possible de-merger or breakaway group" because of their commercial interests. He argues that this should not happen.

He concludes by saying that at 68 years of age, "I want to work less hard and would also like to be free to devote more time to general road safety and environmental questions. I think it essential that there should be a smooth transition. It we are to have that we need to wait to 2009".

He says that he does not intend to resign "unless the majority of the membership wishes him to do so" and even if he is allowed to continue he will leave "almost all public representation of the FIA to the two Deputy Presidents".

This will give him the time to progress with the commercial negotiations and to pursue legal actions that he wishes to take.