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Stoddart Calls for Mosley to Step Down

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has called for FIA president Max Mosley to resign following the controversy surrounding the Australian Grand Prix.

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has called for FIA president Max Mosley to resign following the controversy surrounding the Australian Grand Prix.

Formula One's governing body issued a statement today threatening to withdraw all international motor racing events from Australia following a court injunction against the sanctioning body.

The Victorian Supreme Court yesterday issued an injunction at the request of Stoddart, who requested to run his 2004 cars in the season opening event but was disqualified by the race stewards.

Stoddart had stopped his legal proceedings today, but the FIA said the injunction could lead to graver ramifications.

"It really is seriously pathetic, but it's typical of the very reason that we're having all the problems," Stoddart said of the FIA statement. "If there ever were chances of bringing the sport into disrepute they want to start looking at the author of this letter.

"He retired once in July and he needs to do it again," the Australian told AAP referring to Mosley's decision to stay in his post last year after announcing he was leaving weeks earlier.

Stoddart, who claimed he had been forced to stop his legal proceedings after a threat from the FIA to cancel Sunday's race, also described the statement as "fiction".

"It was the FIA and their lawyers that requested, at about midnight last night, that I withdraw this action, stating that, 'otherwise Max is threatening to cancel the Australian Grand Prix'," Stoddart said.

"I stated at the time my total disgust at such threats and, in the presence of most of the senior members of the FIA, CAMS [Confederation of Australian Motor Sport], AGPC [Australian Grand Prix Corporation] and their legal representatives, I agreed in the interests of the Australian Grand Prix to comply with their request to withdraw.

"It is blatantly untrue to suggest otherwise."

Stoddart compared his dispute to the European Arrest Warrant, under which Formula One bosses could be held responsible if a driver is injured or killed on track.

The Minardi team principal said Mosley had threatened to cancel all the European venues unless the governments exempted the FIA from their laws, and despite the governments refusal the races continued to take place.

"The majority of those governments advised Mr Mosley that he is not above the law and, needless to say, we still have all those European Grands Prix on the schedule," Stoddart added.

"The Australian judicial system is similar in many ways to those of the world's other major democracies and it cannot give comfort to the relevant motorsport bodies in those countries when the FIA president issues statements such as this."

Ron Walker, the boss of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, said the FIA's statement had "implications for many other countries which host rounds of the FIA Formula One World Championship", while the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport sided with the FIA.

The CAMS said they shared "the concerns expressed in regard to the way a competitor sought to involve the Supreme Court of Victoria in issuing an ex parte injunction without notice to the FIA and CAMS.

"The motor sport judicial process adequately provides for the determination of sporting matters and the Victorian Supreme Court has confirmed on multiple occasions that all sporting judicial processes should be exhausted prior to seeking legal avenues," the statement from CAMS added.

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