News Digest by Lawrence Barretto
It’s been 24 hours since yesterday’s landmark decision which saw all the FOTA teams agreeing in principle to the Concorde Agreement and ditching plans to leave the series. Now the debate has moved onto whether FIA President Max Mosley jumped or was pushed.
While Mosley declared that he had always intended to step down as FIA President at the end of his term this October, it appears the media have seen it somewhat differently.
“Mr Mosley had gone to Paris talking tough and making it clear that he might continue bossing one of the world’s richest sports for another four years,” wrote the Times. “By mid-morning his 16-year reign was over and though he remains in office, he is without power.”
The Independent, meanwhile, wrote “Mosley had fallen on his sword, in a classic revolt of the ruled against their ruler. He has successfully hard-balled leading teams in previous disputes, emerging as victor in a series of turf wars, but the prospect of a rival series, which would leave a rump Formula One made up of only two current teams and assorted novices, proved too damaging to concede.”
The move was labelled as a ‘victory for the F1 rebels’ by the Mirror who went on to say Mosley’s time was finally up. “Mosley’s cost-cap proposals, plus his vicious politicking and name calling, branding team bosses “loonies”, proved a step too far for even his staunchest allies.” However they were keen to point that Mosley wasn’t all bad. “Although few in the sport’s upper tiers will mourn his demise now they may soon miss the content of his management, if not its style.”
Along with The Times, The Guardian highlighted Bernie Ecclestone’s role as peacemaker in brokering the deal as he sought to protect his business. “Ecclestone had more to lose than most,” wrote The Guardian. “It is certain that the sport’s commercial rights holder had come under extreme pressure from his partner, CVC, as the capital venture company, with no interest in Formula One other than making money, became alarmed by the serious intent shown by FOTA.”
However, as the Economist points out, in pushing through the deal to save the sport, Ecclestone sacrificed Mosley. “Mr Ecclestone seems to have deserted his old friend after FOTA won the backing of the ultimate authority in F1, the private-equity firm CVC Capital, which bought control of Mr Ecclestone’s sports-rights company a few years ago,” said the Economist. “Its bankers had been worrying that the sport it had bought might fall apart. In the end, it was Sir Max and Mr Ecclestone’s authority that collapsed.”
Ecclestone, though, defended his move and his friend saying “In fairness to Max he wanted to leave last year and I asked him not to go until things were sorted out. Let’s make one thing clear, absolutely no one could have forced Max to go if he had decided to stand for re-election.
“People forget he achieved a lot in his time. They forget the positive and concentrate on the negative.
“We’ve been friends for 40 years. He understood the sport and we knew how to do things together. When he needed support I supported him and vice versa.”
Whatever the reasoning for Mosley departing, the situation has now been resolved and we can finally get back to talking about the action on the track. The New York Times sums it up nicely – “Peace has been declared in Formula One… thank goodness we do not have two watered down championships next year instead of one strong one.”