Mosley: FIA risks losing control of F1
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, May 16th 2008, 20:01 GMT|
Max Mosley has warned that the FIA could be drastically weakened, and even lose control of Formula One, if he is forced out of office at a General Assembly meeting on June 3.
With the FIA's member clubs due to vote next month on whether they still have confidence in him following the allegations about his private life made in the News of the World, Mosley has written to the clubs' presidents warning them of the dangers of him not staying on.
In the letter, a copy of which has been seen by autosport.com, Mosley reveals that he, on behalf of the FIA, is battling with F1 commercial rights holders Bernie Ecclestone and financial backers CVC for control of F1, and thinks it vital he sees out those discussions.
In fact, he thinks the negotiations are so important that: "it would be irresponsible, even a breach of duty, to walk away from (them)."
In the letter, Mosley reveals: "We are in the middle of a renegotiations of the 100 year commercial agreement between the FIA and the Formula One Commercial Rights Holder (CRH). In effect, this agreement governs Formula One.
"The CRH originally asked us to accept changes to the agreement in order to reduce the CRH's liability to tax. These we can probably concede. But the CRH has also now asked for control over the F1 regulations and the right to sell the business to anyone - in effect to take over F1 completely. I do not believe the FIA should agree to this.
"To do so would be to abandon core elements of the FIA's patrimony including, for example, our ability to protect the traditional grands prix. We would also be weaker financially but, even more importantly, we would put at risk the viability of the FIA as the regulatory authority of international motor sport and lose a valuable communication platform for the wider interests of the organisation."
The revelations about the discussions over a new 100-year deal throw a fresh light on Ecclestone's stance on the Mosley affair - especially following a meeting at the Spanish Grand Prix where he was involved in discussions about whether the teams should sign a letter calling for Mosley to resign. The original 100-year commercial rights deal was agreed with Ecclestone in 2000, when he was reported to have paid around $315 million (USD) for the privilege.
Mosley claims that his bid to defend the FIA's future would be weakened if he left his position - and opens up the possibility of a candidate being installed who actually supports those whom the FIA are currently arguing with.
"Anyone could stand and there would be no list to stabilise the process and ensure that each candidate had the support of a real cross-section of FIA member clubs," said Mosley about what would happen if he left office. "During the two to four month election period, the complex negotiations (with the CRH)....would necessarily slow or even cease.
"A new president would then take over with no knowledge of the background and, worse, might perhaps have been elected with the support of the very people with whom we are negotiating."
Mosley also fears that the FIA being frozen out of aspects of F1's governance would actually damage the sport ahead of what he calls a looming financial 'crisis' - which is why he is reluctant to agree to a Concorde Agreement that gives the teams veto over rule making and does not give them enough money.
"In my view, we 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.
"Costs have gone out of control, income is insufficient and major manufacturers are in difficulty with their core businesses. Only with fair and realistic financial arrangements will we avoid losing more teams."
Furthermore, Mosley revealed that he is involved in discussions for a long-term commercial agreement for the World Rally Championship, which he believes is vital for the "financial well-being of the FIA and those of its member clubs which organise international rallies."
He concludes that those within the sport who have called for his resignation may only be doing so to further their interests in locking the FIA out of F1.
"I think it is important to recognise that there has been a struggle for control of F1 that goes back to the original Concorde Agreement in 1981. More recently it involved the major car manufacturers threatening to launch a break-away series.
"During my period as FIA President the economics of F1 have changed beyond all recognition. We are now dealing with a sport involving billions of dollars and interests that would like nothing better than to remove the FIA from the championship entirely.
"I have been determined to fight for the rights and role of the FIA in F1 and it is possibly for this reason that the media have been encouraged by those who have an interest in undermining my Presidency.
"I believe, therefore, that whatever the Extraordinary General Assembly decides, it should not reward those who have deliberately set out to destabilise the FIA at such a crucial time in its history."
In a second part of the letter, Mosley also calls on the major mobility clubs to abandon plans to form a breakaway organisation and do more to ensure the success of the merger that they themselves originally supported."
Mosley concludes his letter by making it clear that he fully intends to stand down in October 2009 if he is given a vote of confidence on June 3 - and his final year in office will be spent concluding the F1 and WRC negotiations that he believes are so vital for the future of the FIA.
He claims that in that period all public representation of the FIA will be handed over to the two Deputy Presidents.
"This will give me the time I need to progress the current negotiations to the point where proposals safeguarding the fundamental interests of the FIA can be submitted to the WMSC (World Motor Sport Council) and the General Assembly," he explains.
"It will also give me time to pursue the legal proceedings I have started against those who have caused so much unnecessary trouble and embarrassment. Above all, it will allow a smooth and orderly transition to a new presidency satisfactory to the membership as a whole."
Next week in Monaco, Mosley is to make his first public appearance at a Grand Prix since the scandal about his private life broke earlier this year.