F1: FIA vote liveblog – Mosley wins, threat of split, fears for British GP

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarTuesday, June 3rd, 2008

 
 

So, today’s the day when Max Mosley meets his nemesis in the form of a FIA hearing that will vote on whether members feel he is fit to continue as the organisation’s president.

Opinion is split as to whether he’s going to pull it off – our view is that the political currents and eddies around this one are so deep that you’d need a great deal of insider knowledge to be able to make a worthwhile prediction. Insider knowledge that most of us don’t have.

So, speculation of our own being fruitless, we’ll bring you links to other people’s speculation, and eventually news, as the day goes on.

The meeting started at 0830 BST and the results of the secret ballot of the 222 members are expected this afternoon.

Including reaction to the result, whichever way it goes, and the impact it is likely to have on the world of F1. Keep hitting refresh to get the latest.

KEY STORIES:

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4.50pm: And this is where we call it quits for the time being, since most of the news and the interest has now died down. We’ll be back to add to the story once a few more comments come in… Thanks for visiting and reading!

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4.40pm: Oho. What we’ve been waiting to hear – Bernie’s view. These comments courtesy of Reuters:

“It’s business as usual as far as I’m concerned. I hope it hasn’t destabilised sponsors or manufacturers.”

Ecclestone, said the commercial rights holders had a 100 year agreement with the FIA regardless of who was president and that would continue unchanged.

“We are now in a position where nobody quite knows (what will happen). All those who said things in the past, I don’t imagine they are going to change their opinion now,” added the 77-year-old billionaire.

“It’s going to be difficult for him to act as a president of the FIA if the people who said before that they don’t want to meet with him maintain that position,” he added.

Full story here: http://tinyurl.com/6fvre7

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4.15pm: An interesting comment piece has gone up on GrandPrix.com entitled The Judgement of History:

“A large number of people in this world believe that married men should not break their vows and involve themselves with lurid sexual games, involving uniformed dominatrices. They believe that personal betrayals of trust are not something that should be ignored because it is in one’s private life, but rather should be seen as an indication of the character of the person concerned. The logic is simple: if one cannot be trusted on a personal level, why should one be trusted in a public role. This is why for generations politicians have resigned in sex scandals.”

Read the whole thing here: http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns20421.html

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3.59pm: The Telegraph now paints Mosley as “a wounded figure in charge of a constituency that could be radically reduced.”

Read its updated story here: http://tinyurl.com/5qdm7r
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3.45pm: Aaaand…. Mario Theissen is the first F1 team principal to blink, making a statement in which he says remarkably little. Here it is, as reported by Autosport.com:

“We respect this decision, which was made by the delegates in full knowledge of the facts. It is important now for everyone concerned to turn their undivided attention back to the sport.”

Full story here: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/67962

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3.38pm: The commenters on F1 Fanatic are into quite an interesting discussion on the subject of cui bono? And the resounding conclusion is: Bernie Ecclestone and his commercial interests as the overwhelming beneficiary of a weakened FIA. Whether or not that’s good or bad is a subject they’re still debating… The only thing we would add is that the man is 77 years old. So unless there is a designated heir apparent he can’t plot and plan too far into the future, can he? Read and join in here: http://tinyurl.com/6phls3

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3.12pm: The Australians, like the Brits, are calling for calm (quotes from Reuters story linked to below). Interestingly enough Mr Connelly represents the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, a racing rather than a motoring body – so a definite fault line emerging:

“Australian FIA delegate Garry Connelly said the atmosphere in the assembly had been calm and polite and hoped the world body, representing 222 national motoring organizations in 130 countries, could now unite and move on.

‘There’s people talking about breakaways but frankly the FIA has achieved amazing things in its 100 year history and it would be crazy to think that its not going to achieve even more and better things in future,’ he said.”

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3.01pm: Here are some interesting quotes in a Reuters story on the vote outcome. So far most of the clubs publicly fulminating against Mosley have been the big ones representing millions of motorists (although the German one does apparently oversee racing at the Nurburgring). By contrast the UK’s MSA, which has said it will be backing the status quo, is an elite racing organisation.

Is the FIA fracturing between these two interest groups? Here’s an excerpt from that Reuters story:

“Guido van Woerkom, president of the Royal Dutch Touring Club, said he had voted against Mosley and warned that the FIA faced the risk of future schism with the Briton likely to be cold-shouldered for his remaining time in office.

‘I think we will survive the period to November 2009 but if the next president is a purely sport man, then that will certainly be the end of the cooperation between the mobility and sport clubs in the FIA,’ he said.”

Full story here: http://tinyurl.com/6h8njr

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2.58: We’ve just noticed that Mosley’s said he’s making no public statement until after his NotW court case…

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2.50pm: Autosport.com now has fuller quotes from American Automobile Association President and CEO Robert L Darbelnet setting out what he intends to do about continuing FIA membership:

“This was not the result we were expecting, or the one we wanted, and it will force us to consider other options in terms of ensuring that we belong to an international entity that properly governs itself and ensures appropriate representation for the motorist.”

Full story here: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/67961

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2.34pm: Former F1 team boss Paul Stoddart, talking to BBC Radio Five Live, also predicts a damaging split and says this is the end of the FIA as we know it:

“It’s a sad day for world motorsport. If the 103 countries were read out, I guarantee you wouldn’t recognise 99 per cent of them, with a few notable exceptions.

“I think it’s the beginning of the end of the FIA as we know it.

“I suspect we will now see a massive breakaway — the 50-odd that voted against Mosley represent some 80 percent of the numbers of the worldwide motoring groups of the big countries that we all know and respect.

“We will now see the demise of the FIA because [Mosley] cannot perform his job.”

It’s at times like this you feel the world of motorsport needs a fair bit more Aussie forthrightness and plain speaking.

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2.27pm: BRDC president Damon Hill is unimpressed. Here’s what he told ITV F1.com:

“It shows how determined he is to stay in that seat. The problem with it is that the seat and the building around him is disintegrating, and that’s the worry.

“We’ve already heard noises from large automobile bodies and from the motor manufacturers that they’re not happy he’s staying. It’s really gone in the face of all those opinions.

“I think you can only do that for so long before eventually people say ‘that’s enough, we’re not playing any more.'”

Indeed. And Hill is also concerned that the fallout could endanger the future of the British Grand Prix:

“We really need an organisation like the FIA to help us protect our position so that we can have reasonable terms from the commercial rights holders.

“It’s very difficult, when you have a president who is as controversial as Max is, to argue the case for funding for Formula 1 from the government if we need to.

“I think not taking on board the general political atmosphere is sometimes a strength, but in this case it seems to be really inconsiderate for the sport.”

Full story here: http://www.itv-f1.com/News_Article.aspx?id=42853

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2.12pm: The Formula One section of the news aggregator NewsNow.co.uk is suffering from a distinct overload at the moment. Clearly more and more people are catching on to what has happened.

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2.10pm: it seems increasingly clear that the Dutch are on the breakaway bandwagon – here are some quotes from representative Guido van Woerkom of the ANWB, as reported at Autosport.com:

“Van Woerkom suggested some clubs are now likely to withdawn all involvement with the FIA, following ADAC’s example.

“‘Yes, well, I am now away to have a lunch with those clubs and maybe that is the outcome of that discussion,’ he said.”

Full story here: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/67959

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2.05pm: A couple of titbits from the most recent BBC Sport update of this story. Firstly we are not at all surprised to learn that Eddie Jordan thinks Mosley should get on his bike:

“Former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan said he was not surprised that Mosley won the vote – but still hoped he would consider his position.

‘My hope is he will think about the damage [done]. This is not a moral issue, it’s a practical one,’ he said.

‘There are a lot of countries where F1 goes and lots of the rulers of those countries don’t want to deal with him.

‘That is clearly not acceptable. My hope is that he will listen to the comments and then go.'”

Also we get a bit more commentary about the problems this decision is expected to cause:

“BBC sports correspondent Adam Parsons said that despite Mosley’s victory, the damage done to the FIA has become very evident.

‘He won by a clear majority, but among those who opposed him there is overt anger and resentment.

‘The US, German and Dutch raised the spectre of breaking away from the FIA in protest is an unprecedented threat.

‘Today the FIA is an organisation in crisis, facing the prospect of being ripped apart.’

That’s pretty strong stuff, that last quote… Full story here: http://tinyurl.com/5ew5yb

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1.52pm: While we’re waiting to see what happens next, amuse yourselves with this article from The Scotsman from a couple of days ago in which Sir Jackie Stewart gives his thoughts on the whole affair. It offers this insight:

“Stewart is one of the few men in Formula One with no vested interest and therefore one of the most accurate barometers of opinion within the sport. It was his revelation this week that he has bet $100 on Mosley still being in a job by the end of the week (“a lot of money for a Scotsman” quips the multi-millionaire) that brought wider attention to the very real possibility that the FIA president might survive. The rest of us presumed he was a goner.”

Good for Sir Jackie – presumably he made a few quid there, which is the least he deserves, given some of the abuse he’s had to put up with from Mosley. Here’s what he had to say in the piece:

“Were he an honourable man he would already have resigned because this is a bridge too far,” says Stewart. “He accepts that this (orgy) happened yet he doesn’t accept that it infringes upon his ability to do his job. How can he say that? No-one wants to see him! He wasn’t wanted in Monaco, Bahrain or Spain.

“How can he go to the European Parliament to make Formula One’s case, or speak to heads of state? He can’t. No head of a multi-national company, for whom image is everything, would be seen talking to him or meeting him and there’s a big risk of some major companies no longer being involved in motorsport if this continues.

“The damage he’s doing to Formula One is considerable. The bottom line is whatever argument he presents he cannot possibly perform his functions as FIA president.”

Full story here: http://tinyurl.com/6d5xrh

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1.31pm: Britain’s Motor Sports Association’s having none of this split nonsense, oh no. According to a statement in Autosport.com, it has said the following:

“The Motor Sports Association respects the decision of the FIA General Assembly concerning President Mosley and considers that it is now time to move on and for the sport to pull together.

“The Motor Sports Association looks forward to continuing to work constructively as an important member of the FIA in the future.”

Full story here: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/67960

The body had refrained from making any public comment before the hearing.

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1.24pm: That looks like most of the immediate coverage out of the way. Now we await the reaction, especially from the Formula One establishment, and any announcement that might come from the American organisation that is threatening to withdraw.

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1.13pm: Over at the F1Fanatic blog Keith Collantine reminds us that in a poll conducted on the site 81 per cent of readers (295 votes at the point when we visited) wanted to see Mosley gone.

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1pm: The Times has put up a Q&A with its Formula One correspondent Edward Gorman: http://tinyurl.com/5jmo4q. In it he says the following:

“The FIA members have taken their opportunity to express their views on the issue and whatever anyone thinks they have made a decision to endorse him. The question really is whether he can continue in the role as president with any kind of success. Maybe an indication of his views on that is that he has already agreed to hand over some of his power to two deputy presidents and that’s because he thinks he will be unable to do his job properly.

“The two big issues to come out of this are whether the clubs will remain in the FIA and how this will affect the relationship with Formula One. I believe the clubs are planning to meet to discuss that today, while relations between Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone are extremely difficult. But it’s not just Ecclestone it’s also the other owners in Formula One, they don’t want Mosley. It remains to be seen how they react to this. ”

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12.55pm: ITV F1 confirms that the German gentleman did indeed mean what we thought he meant: “Amid speculation that a breakaway body could be established, the German organisation the ADAC has announced it will suspend its FIA activities… Mosley has suggested that he would be willing to take a lesser public role in the wake of the scandal and to focus instead on the behind-the-scenes discussions on F1’s future governance that are currently ongoing.” Full article: http://www.itv-f1.com/News_Article.aspx?id=42850

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12.44pm: The Guardian is on the case with a piece entitled “Mosley wins confidence vote to remain motor racing chief” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/jun/03/formulaone). Nothing we don’t know already except for an interesting addition to the voting information: there were seven abstentions and four null papers.

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12.35pm: what do commenters on BBC Sport’s 606 Debate article think? Pretty dead set against Mosley, on the whole, although a few brave souls are defending his right to a private life. Read the whole thing here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A36812450

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12.25pm: Will the FIA split as a result of this? That’s the line being taken by BBC sport (http://tinyurl.com/5ew5yb) who, in addition to US delegate Robert Darbelnet saying he wants to think about the future, has the German delegation apparently threatening to pull out too: “We view with regret and incredulity the FIA general assembly’s decision in Paris, confirming Max Mosley in office as FIA president. This is a reason for Europe’s largest automobile club to let its functions and co-operation in FIA working groups rest at world level. ADAC will stay with its decision as long as Max Mosley holds the top FIA office of president.”

If he means what we think he means, this is a big, big story.

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12.18pm: An amusing line from The Independent: “Following a two-hour discussion during which frank views were exchanged regarding the 68-year-old, Mosley was understood to be delighted after the result was announced at the FIA headquarters in Paris.” We’ll bet he was.

Full story here: http://tinyurl.com/5nmre9

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12.15pm: The BBC has this to add: “More than a third of delegates did not back Mosley at Tuesday’s meeting in Paris but he won 103 of 169 votes… US delegate Robert Darbelnet said he was disappointed with the outcome and may withdraw his country’s membership.”

Full story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7430939.stm

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12.10pm: Autosport.com has this statement from the FIA:

During the Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA) held in Paris today, the FIA Member Clubs voted on a motion of confidence in the FIA President.

The FIA membership voted as follows:

For the motion: 103
Against the motion: 55
Abstentions: 7
Invalid votes 4

Voting in the EGA was made by secret ballot. Votes were counted in private by the FIA legal department in the presence of four scrutineers, selected by the EGA from a list of Delegates proposed by the Chairman of the meeting (the President of the FIA Senate).

The entire voting procedure was supervised by an external Huissier de Justice (French state-appointed public witness).

Paris, 3 June, 2008

Full story here: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/67957

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12.05pm: Mosley wins the vote

Gosh, that was a bit quicker than expected – The Times is running this brief story: “Max Mosley wins vote of confidence.” It says: “The vote, which took place in Paris, involved 177 delegates and the meeting was chaired by Michel Boeri, the president of the FIA Senate.

“Critics claimed the agenda has appeared biased in Mosley’s favour because, although there will be an opportunity for “statements from members” prior to Mosley’s address, there was no opportunity either for an opposing case to be formally set out or for members to question Mosley.”

Full story here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article4057072.ece

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11.30am: Coverage of this event is being heavily trailed in most of the mainstream media and specialist sites. Here’s a selection:

  • All eyes on Paris as Mosley awaits confidence vote – a detailed round-up of the story so far and what is due to go in at the hearing from the official Formula One site.
  • BBC Sport: Mosley set to face vote on future – Max Mosley is fighting for his job as president of motorsport’s governing body. Features quotes from Damon Hill.
  • ITV F1: the Mosley saga explained – Have you been paying close attention? We wouldn’t blame you if not. Should you need a catch-up about what’s been happening and its implications, read this excellent summary.
  • The Telegraph: Max Mosley’s head is on the block in Paris – should a faceless secretariat representing automobile clubs from across the globe follow the example of the late 18th-century Parisian proletariat, it rumbles grandly, a noble head shall roll in the Place de la Concorde today. Well, that’s one way of looking at it.
  • The Times: Max Mosley fixing sights on the long haul – Bernie Ecclestone gave a stark warning to members of the FIA last night that if they vote to retain Max Mosley as their president today, he will stand for re-election in 2009 and could remain in office for another six years. Ed Gorman has also done a blog post from Paris.
  • Autosport.com: Paris vote decisive for FIA future too – has some good quotes from Confederation of Australian Motor Sport chief Gary Connelly who says “This is a very important day for motorsport. This isn’t just about the future of one person; this is about the future of a whole organisation with more than 100 years of history. So I think that people are going to take much note of that today, they are going to listen to all sides of the argument, and I’m sure they’ll be many sides of the argument.”
  • The Independent: End of the road for Mosley? – should Max Mosley lose his position as president of Formula 1’s governing body, the paper asks, in a long think piece quoting Sir Jackie Stewart and Alain Prost Today, it points out, his fate will be decided. This paper also has a leader on the subject which calls Mosley “an eminently dislikeable character” but calls for him to stay on because the News of the Screws has been nasty. Wrong. As we keep on saying it’s his judgement (putting himself in a situation where the Nazi allegation could be made) not his morals which make his postition untenable – that and his utter refusal to put the good of the FIA and motorsport generally above his own interests once the scandal had broken.
  • The Guardian: Poll shows clubs divided on vote to ditch Mosley – Motorsport’s governing body is deeply divided on whether to retain Max Mosley as its president, according to a poll carried out by the Guardian. This is interesting reading and suggests the decision will be a close one.

One response to “F1: FIA vote liveblog – Mosley wins, threat of split, fears for British GP”:

  1. Max Mosley scandal: 22 opinions — F1 blog from F1Fanatic Says:

    June 5th, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    […] Mosley wins, threat of split, fears for British GP (Brits on Pole) – “Gosh, that was a bit quicker than expected.” (The brief meeting took me by surprise as well.) […]

 
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