A rather interesting story was posted on the BBC website shortly before the opening of hostilities at Barcelona on Sunday.
It suggests that embattled FIA president Max Mosley might not be able to rely on the unconditional support of his old mucker Bernie Ecclestone after all.
In fact, if the story is basically correct, Ecclestone spent part of the weekend engaged in trying to organise activity to get him to resign. Here’s the important bit:
Ecclestone ups pressure on Mosley
Ecclestone invited F1 team principals to sign a letter calling for Mosley to stand down and said he would add his name if they all signed it.
Seven teams agreed, but three did not – Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Williams.
Mosley was accused by a newspaper of taking part in a “Nazi-style orgy”. He denies his deeds had Nazi connotations.
The Super Aguri team, whose future is in doubt because of financial problems, did not attend the meeting on Saturday at the Spanish Grand Prix. Read full story here…
Several F1 sites are reporting that Ecclestone has dismissed this story as rubbish. And there is some debate about which teams were involved – Ferrari and Williams seem to be constants but the third is sometimes Toro Rosso and sometimes Red Bull.
But there are two interesting things to note.
One, the BBC has not seen fit to update its story since 11.33am on Sunday which suggests it has had no reason to question the facts contained therein. And, contrary to what some commentators like to suggest, it does tend to properly stand things up before publishing them.
Two, the story has some considerable currency in the newspapers too. The Telegraph, which stopped vigorously defending Mosley when a) his position became indefensible and b) the exclusive interview was in the bag, has run its own story claiming the FIA president’s time is running out.
The Independent has given it a mention and The News of the World has had a crack, to the surprise of absolutely no-one.
The Times has a photo of the meeting at which the censure was allegedly discussed, revealing a fantastic view of Ron Dennis’ bald spot. Of the broadsheets, only The Guardian appears not to have touched it yet.
All this would suggest that there is some substance to the allegation that Ecclestone would like Mosley to resign – presumably before he does the sport any more damage.
But if the Paris confidence vote goes Mosley’s way, and there is no technical impediment to him seeing out the 18 months or so that his term of office has to run, the situation could become very bloody indeed.