Interview with FIA President Mosley, Part VI

Part 6 of 6 Max Mosley interview transcript Question: You've taken a very large sum of money off Mr Kirch, and you're spending it on automobile safety. That money came from motor racing, and there is an argument that at least some of it should...

Part 6 of 6
Max Mosley interview transcript

Question: You've taken a very large sum of money off Mr Kirch, and you're spending it on automobile safety. That money came from motor racing, and there is an argument that at least some of it should be spent on the sport and not on your particular plots and projects.

Mosley: Absolutely right and some of it is being spent on the sport. Aerodynamic research is discovering why Alboreto's sports car flipped when it got side ways and what we can do to stop it. We've already done research into why the three Mercedes flipped at Le Mans. We're paying part of it and the manufacturers are

paying some of it. There is a very very high tech system being proposed for wheel tethers. It's extremely expensive to develop and we're going 50-50 with a motor manufacturer on the costs, because there's no rope known to man which will keep the wheels on in the worst case, even in not so bad cases. The crash helmet will eventually have an impact on the roads but not in cars, only in motorcycles, we're doing that. Research into improving safety on circuits and crash barriers. There are racing circuits all over the world which have to spend millions and millions of dollars. You couldn't even do one circuit with the money we've got, even though what we've got is more than the road safety budget of the EU it would hardly scratch the surface just at Silverstone.

Question: Is the FIA as going to be as hard on Spa as they have been on Silverstone?

Mosley: If necessary yes. Spa have already made same efforts. There is a new dual carriageway, things of that kind. Hockenheim are making efforts. The thing that was worrying about Silverstone was that nobody appeared to care, and when there was some money, it was spent on a luxurious clubhouse for the 600 BRDC members. If you own the premises, you would expect them to think about the guests first and themselves last.

Question: What about Interlagos?

Mosley: Well, everybody says it's not very good. I have to confess that the last time I went to Brazil was in' 82 and that was Rio so I can't claim to be up-to-date. The biggest problem is that we don't have another South American race. We're a little bit in difficulty that if we cancelled Brazil, that's it, that's South America right off the World Championship calendar which is a great traditional place, so there's a reluctance, but a point is coming where if they don't do something, that's it. It is a reason for keeping a race. It's as if Silverstone was the only one in Western Europe and we couldn't get one anywhere else. Whereas in Western Europe, we've got too many already, being brutal about it, and we need to free up a few races. So if people don't want to take it seriously…You have to weigh up how much we are willing to tolerate Interlagos versus the importance of having at least one event in South America. If South America went, it would probably have an effect on the whole of South America in a way. Things change. Suddenly there's Montoya coming up. We're always saying we want to be more of a World Championship.

Question: Can you explain the background with the Safari rally? The chairman has said that it should be a partnership and backers should include the FIA? To what extent should the FIA put its hand in its pocket and make a rally like the Safari happen?

Mosley: Absolutely not. It's not our job. We are a regulator and in fact the deal with the European Commission is that we are not involved in the commercial side in anyway. He (the chairman) doesn't understand the basic structures. And if people don't have the means to put on a safe, properly-run World Championship event.

It's very difficult to justify. Imagine, if there were a traffic accident, you would have to explain to the world's media why there was traffic going the other way on a stage. It would be really really difficult to explain that. Most people wouldn't understand.

Question: Does the FIA have the ability or power to demand a financial bond or something from a rally organiser to make sure it doesn't go broke?

Mosley: No, no we don't. On the other hand they have to put sufficient things in place, so that if thing is going to completely take a dive you will probably know before you went there. But no, they don't put bonds up. If we were seriously worried, we might ask them as a condition to going on the calendar. We couldn't really do that to a traditional event.

Question: How long is it before we hear that the rally in fact won't happen?

Mosley: I don't know that it won't. The last I heard was that the government were getting involved in various ways. The two main problems are the traffic and open roads, and the other problem is the animals. Even if you closed the road, you've probably got to have a helicopter for safety.

Question: Generally speaking, has the ban on testing been a bad thing, because Formula One has slipped off the tabloid consciousness, to a greater extent more than it ever has before?

Mosley: I don't know whether that's true. First of all, there isn't a ban on testing, there's sort of like a holiday, November and December and then it's back on in January. All we've done, or I've done, is say‘ you should police that yourselves and shouldn't involve the FIA the discussion about testing.' The teams wanted us to continue to take charge of it and we said we wouldn't. Imagine the moment people don't want to observe the spirit of it. Suppose Ferrari had taken their new engine and gearbox and stuck it in sports car, tested it through November and December. Is that Formula One testing? I just didn't want to get involved in the argument, so I'm saying now‘ we're in charge from Thursday afternoon until Sunday night and what you do in between is up to you.'

It's a gentleman's agreement between the teams. It's an optimistic term.

Question: How important is it for Formula One that Ferrari doesn't run away with this season?

Mosley: It would be helpful if they didn't run away. I don't think it's a foregone conclusion. If you think about 2001, if the McLarens and Williamses had been as reliable as the Ferraris, it would have been much harder. Ferrari would still have won but it would have been much more difficult. Trouble is the new car looks so incredibly quick, but let's wait and see. It's a very revolutionary car. They are taking a big chance.

Question: Where do you rate Michael in the all-time greats?

Mosley: He's certainly‘ one of', if not‘ The.' He's probably the best. He's so all-round. With all the others, there's a weakness here or a weakness there. It's very difficult to see what his weakness is. I don't know about Fangio because I didn't know him. By the time I met him he was sort of old. All the others, with every single one you can find something about them there's a weakness, and yet with Schumacher, I don't know what it is. You sit down and talk to him, for example he doesn't know much about motor racing history. I was once very shocked that he'd never heard of Jochen Rindt, for example, but if you talk to him about anything that is relevant to what he does, it's likely talking to a very clever graduate about his subject. He's completely analytical, he never says something stupid, he never misses the point, understands everything you say immediately and if you didn't know that he's fairly narrow, you would consider him to be intellectually formidable and insofar as he's got information, he is intellectually formidable. He doesn't have any apparent emotional weaknesses. The only time I've seen him behave a little bit irrationally was at Monza because of the September 11th and they all got a bit… but he was by no means the only one. It was a general thing. But it's really very hard to see weaknesses in Michael's make-up.


Interview begins at Part I

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About this article
Series Formula 1 , WRC
Drivers Jochen Rindt
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Williams