Max Mosley confirmed Wednesday in a letter to member clubs of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) that he will stand down as president when his current term, his fourth, expires in October.
Mosley, 69, thanked members, 100 of whom he said asked him to reconsider when he originally announced he would stand down after a June 24 settlement that seemed to end a breakaway threat by all the current Formula One team owners save Williams F1 and Force India.
"This absolutely unprecedented level of support is very rewarding and I am deeply grateful," he wrote.
He went on to say an expected easy update to the expired Concorde Agreement, the pact by which F1 runs, turned out to be complicated and required "intensive negotiations" before a currently acceptable accord was reached. He credited FIA deputy president for sport, American Nick Craw, for "very satisfactory contracts," including ones for the World Rally Championship and the World Championship for GT cars.
"I feel that, with the help of our lawyers, we have negotiated an agreement which brings to Formula One the new teams and lower costs that were so urgently needed," Mosley wrote.
Other versions of events indicated media reports of the June 24 settlement rankled the Englishman and he rattled sabers sufficiently to put the sport in jeopardy once more. Mosley talked fifth term. Principals of teams deemed entered at the end of June for the 2010 F1 season -- BMW Sauber, Brawn GP, Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes, Red Bull, Renault, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Toyota -- were told they were not entered when they turned up last week for a rules conference before the German Grand Prix. They walked out of the meeting and revisited their breakaway plan.
At the heart of the dispute was Mosley's scheme that teams would adopt 2010 budgets on par with the price of an English Premier League football player, $80 million or less. Teams wanted three years to reduce spending. They also wanted a new Concorde Agreement.
Mosley called former team principal for Ferrari and Peugot, Jean Todt, the "ideal person" to succeed him. Todt, 63, won World Rally Championships, the Paris-to-Dakar rally, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race for Peugeot. He ran Ferrari's Formula One team during its most successful stretch, when the scuderia won six consecutive constructors titles and five consecutive driving titles with Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher. Todt's partner, Malaysian film star Michelle Yeoh, is a campaign ambassador in the FIA's Make Roads Safe program.
Ari Vatanen, 57, a Finn who is a two-term member of the European Parliament and was 1981 World Rally Champion, has declared his candidacy. Vatanen has the support of the American Automobile Association as well as McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
Mosley's letter said he had begun focusing on his family and that he had told FIA staff members he would not continue as president. "To continue now would greatly complicate my domestic arrangements and be inconsistent with my obligations to my family, particularly in light of our recent loss."
Alexander Mosley, 39, the oldest of Mosley's two sons, died in May of a heroin overdose. A year earlier, Max Mosley was embroiled in a sex scandal that brought to light behaviors unknown to his wife of nearly 50 years, Jean, and which, he said, brought great embarrassment to his family. He outlasted the scandal and won a vote of confidence by the FIA membership.
As former president, Mosley becomes an ex-officio member of the FIA senate.
Mosley, one of the founders of March Engineering and co-founder of Simtek Engineering, both of which fielded F1 teams, was elected to his first term as FIA president in 1993. Among his accomplishments: improved crash-test standards for road and racing cars; adoption of Head and Neck Support (HANS) devices for racing drivers; child-safety seats for road cars; Formula One circuit safety; accident data recorders for F1 cars; a campaign to reduce vehicle pollutant emissions in the European Union; the FIA Foundation, a registered charity in the United Kingdom that promotes road safety, environmental protection, and motorsport safety worldwide; the FIA Academy, which set up mechanisms to further research on road safety and environmental issues, and the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety.