Mosley heads off F1 'palace coup'

Max Mosley has headed off an attempt by some of the leading teams in Formula 1 to unseat him as president of the sport's governing body

Mosley heads off F1 'palace coup'

According to this week's Autosport magazine, at least three teams wanted to remove FIA president Mosley because they felt he meddled too much in the running of Formula 1. But at a meeting between the teams, Mosley and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone at Heathrow Airport yesterday, Mosley pre-empted any 'palace coup' by confronting the team bosses on their intentions.

Prime movers behind the attempt to oust Mosley were Ron Dennis of McLaren, Eddie Jordan and Sir Frank Williams.

The Heathrow meeting had been arranged in order to discuss ways to increase the level of entertainment in F1 and to look at the policing and use of electronic driver aids, but sources say the FIA president began it by asking the team bosses to explain themselves over Autosport's exclusive news story on the planned coup. Despite the teams expressing their concerns over several aspects of how the sport is organised and run, Mosley is said to have received assurances that they were not actively seeking to overthrow him.

Following the recently-signed deal that gave Bernie Ecclestone the commercial rights to F1 for the next 100 years and consigned the FIA to a non-commercial and administrative role, the teams feel that the FIA's role in F1 is superfluous. They want to remove the FIA from any role in F1 and write the rules themselves.

A major concern to the teams is the way the F1 technical regulations are framed. The FIA prefers an element of ambiguity in the rules, which allows them to allow or disallow new ideas and technologies on a case-by-case basis. But the teams want the rules to be more specific, particularly in the case of electronics.

Speaking in this week's Autosport Ecclestone agreed with the teams that the current regulations are not clear and said he would support the teams' efforts to clarify the situation.

Asked whether he was aware of the team bosses' desire to get rid of Mosley, Ecclestone said: "I know some of them are complaining that Max is interfering in things that they say have nothing to do with him. But the Formula 1 teams don't have any votes in the election of the president of the FIA. It's up to the 120-odd countries [in the FIA] that will vote whether they want Max as president or not."

One theory gathering momentum is that Ecclestone deliberately brought the issue out into the open in order to allow Mosley a forum in which to confront the teams.

Mosley, who is 60-years-old, is still to decide whether he will seek another five-year term as FIA president when the post comes up for re-election next year.

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