Max Mosley: FIA president chooses suicide / Formula 1

On May 23, 2021, Max Mosley, the longtime president of the FIA, the world motorsport federation, died. Now it has become known: Because of his cancer, the charismatic Englishman chose suicide.

This news shook the automotive world in May 2021: Max Mosley, who had been in charge of the FIA, the world motorsport federation from 1993 to 2009, and who was largely responsible for making racing safer, died at the age of 81.

Until recently, Max Mosley, who suffered from lymph node cancer, had been working on a film documentary simply called “Mosley.” It was supposed to show his life “with all my faults and weaknesses”, as the Englishman said in 2020. Actually, the documentary should have been shown in 2020, but production came to a standstill due to the corona pandemic.

When the Daily Mail was the first newspaper to report in England, Mosley chose suicide. It became known during an investigation launched after his death. On March 29, the forensic pathologist and the responsible police officer were to testify at the court in Westminster (London). Such hearings are usually public in the UK. According to these statements, Mosley shot himself with a firearm.

In addition, Dr. Christopher McNamara, consulting hematologist (blood specialist), stated that Mosley was very upset about the remaining quality of life, knowing that his illness was incurable.

Max Mosley has taken on many roles in his life: eloquent lawyer, politician who knows all the ropes, team leader of a racing team that came out of nowhere and won Formula 1 races in the first season, and ultimately visionary who foresaw , to ruin the premier class itself if nothing is finally done about the cost explosion.

After a long career in the sport, Mosley kept a sharp eye on Formula 1 and a sharp tongue.

Mosley preached for years: “Formula 1 is way too expensive. The cost has to go down. Otherwise, the smaller racing teams will no longer have a chance to fund their operation in the medium term.”

A critical point was reached when, at the end of 2013, Formula 1 switched from cheap and proven naturally aspirated engines to multi-energy turbo hybrid drives. Mosley was bothered by two points: firstly, that the car manufacturers had been pushing for so long that this new generation of engines was introduced at all, and secondly, that these so-called drives were far too expensive.

hold from ruin

The teams had to pay leasing fees of up to 23 million euros a year, which broke the necks of the small teams Caterham and Marussia, traditional racing teams like Williams and Sauber balanced on the economic abyss and like Force India (today Aston) Martin), were only equal able to avoid being rescued from ruin.

One of Max Mosley’s numerous savings proposals was to limit the number of engines per. driver and season. “Of course, the engine manufacturers’ technicians will immediately say that this is impossible and would be a disaster. But in the history of Formula 1, such predictions have never come true.”

Today, we run three engines a year, and the manufacturers have of course made the engines strong enough for that.

Mosley was always a thorn in the side at the excessive speeds. He found it frivolous to rebuild the racetracks. “We need to slow down the race cars.” Mosley did not shy away from making unpopular decisions to push his plans through. In 1998, he introduced dry tires with longitudinal grooves. Nobody liked them, but they reached their goal – the swing speeds dropped.

When wider tires were introduced in the Formula 1 for the 2017 season, Mosley criticized: “Personally, I think it’s a shame because this is a step in the wrong direction. I would have preferred to put less emphasis on aerodynamics. I find that “It is fundamentally doubtful that cars are made faster on purpose. For the last 40 to 50 years, all rule changes have been aimed at making cars slower or safer – more speed always means more danger.”

Max Moseley has always polarized. Feared or respected because of his intelligence, his quick wit, his persuasive abilities. The trained lawyer, along with Bernie Ecclestone, made Formula 1 a billion-dollar business. From 1991, this ingenious rope team even officially reigned – as president and vice president of the World Autosport Association FIA.

triumphs and disappointments

Shortly after turning 75, Mosley revealed several stories from his life. The book “Max Mosley – The Autobiography, Formula 1 and Beyond” is still worth reading today. Mosley had also made many enemies during his tenure as team leader and top official for nearly forty years. Mosley never avoided conflicts, so a ruthless bill was to be expected.

Max Mosley spoke at length in the book about the disappointment of being dumped by Bernie Ecclestone as a result of the scandal surrounding a video of Mosley’s privacy: “I was surprised that Bernie, after 40 years of friendship, suddenly supported the side that wanted to get rid of The only way I could explain it was that after he sold a large part of the shares, he was under a lot of pressure from their board of directors. “

Mosley recounted the alleged revenge campaign against longtime McLaren boss Ron Dennis: “Many people thought I did not like Ron. That’s wrong. He could be very demanding at meetings and I often disagreed with him, but only because he defended what he saw as his company’s best. Unlike many other team leaders he has always said his opinion openly. Only a fool would overlook his achievements. The only dark point I saw was that he repeatedly allowed himself to lie on behalf of his company, as in the 2007 espionage affair. “

Amateurs in Formula 1

Mosley allowed a great look behind the scenes. From today’s perspective, it’s incredible how amateurish the best class was in the 1970s. How his racing team in March was set up in 1969 with what is today a ridiculous start-up capital of £ 10,000, which is equivalent to around € 150,000 today.

Imagine this today: A team that had built a Formula 3 car in 1969 announced the following program for 1970 – Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Ford and CanAm series cars. In addition to building customer vehicles, there were factory teams in all single-seater series.

It sounded like greatness madness in a new dimension, but not only did March build 701 GP racers for stars Jackie Stewart, Mario Andretti, Jo Siffert and Chris Amon, they also claimed three pole positions and three wins in the first four race weekends!

Mosley recounted how he had to borrow his share of the company’s capital from his mother, and how March was so close to having to shut down again in the company’s first year. “If Ford’s Sports Director Walter Haynes had not insisted that Ken Tyrrell pay £ 9,000 for the March chassis, instead of the £ 6,000 we had budgeted for and offered, we would have broken down within 12 months.”

The all-important poker

Max Mosley also spoke about the power struggle between FOCA (Formula One Constructors Association) and FISA (Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile), which almost led to the collapse of Formula 1 in the early 1980s.

Thanks to his negotiation skills, Bernie Ecclestone had tenfold the teams’ income. FISA had the manufacturers on their side (who went all-in on turbo engine technology), plus a number of GP organizers who were concerned that Ecclestone was charging more and more entry fees.

FISA chief Jean-Marie Balestre wanted to ban the so-called aprons on the wing cars in order to reduce the cars’ downforce. However, the private racing teams saw aerodynamics as their only weapon against the overwhelming power of turbo engines.

In the ensuing power play, Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley planned a race in South Africa, as if everything was fine. According to FISA, the start of the season should have taken place in Argentina. Another crisis peak followed, and Balestre bowed.

The result of the negotiations at the Place de la Concorde was the first Concorde agreement, a comprehensive document governing all sporting and economic relations between the Formula 1 management, the FIA ​​and the racing teams.

The Formula 1 Constitution is also part of Max Mosley’s rich heritage.

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