Thursday, 3 April 2008

Mosley Fighting for his Career After F1's Manufacturers Wade Into Battle

Whilst the media and F1 fans whipped themselves up into a frenzy over the bombshell revelations of Max Mosley's, err, "interesting" private life, everything went eerily quiet within the F1 fraternity for a few days. A mixture of stunned silence and carefully considered reticence pervaded the Grand Prix teams. Stunned silence because nobody knew how the hell they are supposed to react to such outrageous news. Considered reticence because nobody dared speak out in case it all turned out to be false and they risked the wrath of Mosley's formidable team of lawyers if they were to speak out of turn.

Now that it is clear that this is no hoax, and it really was good ol' Max strapped to that torture bench, key people are beginning to pipe up. Firstly Bernie suggested that it perhaps wouldn't be best for Max to be at this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, is it would bring the wrong kind of media attention to the sporting event. Then shortly after it was revealed by The Times that the decision has been taken out of Max's hands anyway, as the Crown Prince of Bahrain Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa has written to Mr Mosley saying that he is not welcome in Bahrain this weekend anyway.

Perhaps seeing that Mosley was on the ropes after that blow from the Crown Prince, four of the biggest teams in F1 have gone in for the kill. Firstly the two big German manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-Benz released a joint statement saying that the consequences of Mosley's "disgraceful" actions, "extend far beyond the motor sport industry." Whilst they may not have said it in so many words, what they are saying is that if Max were to stay in office it would be catastrophic for the image of World Motorsport, and that they would no longer want to be a part of anything that Max is in charge of. Effectively, either he walks or we walk.

Seconds out, Round 2...

In step the Japanese. Both Honda and Toyota released their own separate statements on the matter, with both saying roughly the same sort of thing. The crux of the issue for the manufacturers is that the scandal surrounding Mosley inevitably draws massive negative publicity onto the whole sport and its participants. They are demanding that the FIA "takes action" to stop the rot. The only conceivable action that could alleviate the crisis is, of course, the immediate resignation of Max Mosley.

Whilst some of the sport's biggest teams are yet to step in, notably McLaren, Ferrari and Williams, the fact that it is the actual manufacturers and not the teams that is most damaging to Mosley and the FIA. The big manufacturers tend to be the ones with the most money and the most influence rather than the teams themselves, and BMW, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota are four of the biggest and most influential manufacturers on the planet. The FIA does NOT want to get on the wrong side of them! Perhaps the most significant step in all of this is that those most bitter of arch rivals BMW and Mercedes decided to release a statement together, not separately. If that isn't a signal of intent then I don't know what is.

Now even young hotshots Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have had something to say about the issue. Whilst being careful not to say too much in direct relation to Mosley, when asked whether they agreed with Honda's statement regarding people carrying out their duties with "integrity and respect," they both talked about the importance of people in the public eye "setting a good example."

Apparently in response to the statements made by the sport's big money teams, the FIA this afternoon released a statement saying that an Extraordinary General Assembly of the FIA Senate has been called, and will take place at the earliest possible date.

The referee is standing above Mosley, beginning his 10-count. Can Mosley drag himself up off the canvas after this?

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