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Mosley Sounds Off Warning to Teams

FIA president Max Mosley ruled out the possibility of further race boycott by teams and sounded off a warning to the Formula One team principals not to try and challenge the FIA's governance of the sport

A week after seven teams withdrew from the United States Grand Prix on the formation lap of the race, and two days before these teams are set to appear in front of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council for disciplinary hearing, Mosley downplayed the severity of the crisis and its impact on the future of the sport.

"It was far harder when [Ayrton] Senna got killed," Mosley stated in an interview with The Guardian. "When something like this happens, it can be put right. It's just a question of who puts it right."

He said the solution to the crisis depends primarily on how it is handled by the various parties, especially when it comes to salvaging the future of the sport in the United States.

"A great deal depends on the way it is handled by Michelin, the teams and, even though they're not to blame, Indianapolis," Mosley said. "If the teams and Michelin supply the right compensation and Indianapolis distributes it quickly, then there should be another race there in 2006. But every day they delay compensating the fans is very short-sighted."

Mosley further criticised the teams' behaviour in Indianapolis and poured scorn on some of his most vocal opposers among the team principals. He also suggested the Michelin tyres may not have been as badly damaged as the teams suggested, and admitted he did not know what the teams were planning to do until seeing them pull into the pitlane on the formation lap.

"I was only confident the Ferraris would go out," Mosley recalled. "I wasn't confident about Jordan and Minardi. But I hoped some would race using the pit-lane option. Only on the warm-up lap did I get a call saying they were probably going to pull in.

"They were incredibly stupid because there are no winners in a situation like this - except the American lawyers. It was crazy. I felt intense irritation because I also suspected the tyre problem was not as grave as they represented. I felt the situation had been created artificially and deliberately."

"I had lots of calls from Bernie [Ecclestone], [McLaren's] Ron Dennis and [Renault's] Flavio Briatore," Mosley continued. "The interaction with Flavio was difficult because he did not make any coherent point.

"Ron was more rational. With regard to [the idea of all seven teams] switching to Bridgestone [tyres] he made the valid point that without testing there could be no safety - which was my precise point about the chicane."

But the FIA president was particularly venomous towards Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart, who has been leading a public campaign against Mosley, calling him to resign from his position.

"Stoddart is a sad case," Mosley told the newspaper. "I helped him tremendously when the other teams were trying to steal his money. But now my reaction is that he's obviously forgotten to take his medication."

Despite the scorn, Mosley claimed the battle was not a personal one but rather a question of governance, and he ruled out the teams taking action such as boycotting further races.

"For me it's not personal," the Briton said. "There is only animosity over who should run the sport. On the one hand I'm saying it's the FIA and they think it should be the teams. When I was one of them I thought the same.

"But the governing body will always win. So I'm not concerned if they take an antagonistic line. What are they going to do? If they go on strike, they're simply cutting off their nose to spite their face. That won't happen.

"Only those who don't understand the system believe they can do it - and that's only two or three team principals. The rest understand that the governing body has to control the sport; it doesn't have to be me personally.

"If they'd just kept quiet, I would've probably gone already."

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