Mosley stands by his Stewart criticism

FIA president Max Mosley says he is standing by his criticism of former world champion Jackie Stewart, despite possible threat of legal action by Stewart himself

Mosley stands by his Stewart criticism

Mosley ridiculed Stewart in a recent meeting with British newspaper journalists, the FIA president describing the former world champion as "a figure of fun" and a "certified halfwit".

Stewart himself said in Shanghai last weekend that he is considering legal action against Mosley.

But speaking to autosport.com, the FIA president has insisted that the Scot's criticism of the governing body's actions were unjustified and he has refused to apologise for his remarks.

"Some members of the British motor sport establishment consider Jackie Stewart to be a national treasure," said Mosley. "I have known Jackie for almost forty years, and understand their view, but they must forgive me if I do not share it.

"The comments Jackie repeatedly made to a global television audience before and after the recent hearings into the McLaren Affair were ill informed and entirely misrepresented the World Council's position.

"Jackie claimed the World Council were 'witch hunting' against McLaren. A witch hunt is the irrational and unjustified persecution of the innocent. To make this and other unfounded and partisan accusations without viewing any of the evidence was not only inept but thoroughly irresponsible. Such comments could do nothing but damage to the sport.

"I have no apology to make for having said as much publicly and I am more than happy to repeat this view about him now and in the future."

Mosley accepted that his comments about Stewart may not have gone down well in certain quarters, but he was adamant that his job as FIA president was not for him to be universally liked by everyone in the sport.

"Of course criticising the pronouncements, however misconceived, of a much loved former World Champion is unpopular in some quarters," he said.

"I can only reaffirm the obvious fact that it is not my job to be loved and never will be. Sanctioning a team as prestigious as McLaren for bringing the sport into disrepute is not one I, nor indeed any member of the World Council relished, but we will never shrink from our responsibility to do so if required.

"The suggestions that my original comments were an implied criticism of anyone other than Jackie himself are complete nonsense and unworthy of those who have sought to make them."

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