FIA interview with Mosley and Goschel (Part 3)

Continued from Part 2 Q: Where do the independent teams sit in this process because they are not represented at board level by a manufacturer? Max Mosley: Well they are very much represented by us because we have always been defenders of the...

Continued from Part 2

Q: Where do the independent teams sit in this process because they are not represented at board level by a manufacturer?

Max Mosley: Well they are very much represented by us because we have always been defenders of the independent teams and we are in full agreement with the manufacturers that we need the independent teams and we must arrange the rules so they can stay in. With this principle that the manufacturers will make these new technologies available to the independent teams very economically then their interests are taken care of. At the same time the independent teams don't have to spend fortunes on wind tunnels. So we will take them even more into account.

Q: And they will be happy to forgo their say in the rule-making process for what you are offering?

Max Mosley: They don't altogether forgo their say because we would find it very difficult to do something if all the independent teams were against it. And they will have their say in doing the detailed rules. But in the end F1 has to be in tune with the major manufacturers and in tune with society.

Q: Professor Göschel, how much do you like the idea of coming second to an independent team using your technology?

Burkhard Göschel: If that happens we are not good enough. It might happen we are not first and in that case we would have to improve next year. That is competition and competition shows that not everyone can be first. That's sport.

Q: What would you say to a cynic who might suggest that your offer of an eco-friendly F1 to the manufacturers is just a way for you to weaken the union of the GPMA?

Max Mosley: I think the cynic would be wrong because all the disagreements on the regulations are all non-issues. They are all to do with personalities and vested interests. People wanting to keep what they've got and not want to downsize their departments. The minute we had the discussion at board level those issues went away because there is no conflict between what the FIA want and what the manufacturers want. We just want all the manufacturers in and provided the manufacturers can recognise that all manufacturers may win there is nothing that separates the FIA from the manufacturer. So once it is at board level and the board gives the instructions to the team principals the problems start to go away.

Q: Why did this not happen earlier? Is it because public opinion on CO2 emissions has forced both of you to realise the sport is under threat and it would only work if you talk at board level? Because you could have come to this conclusion years ago.

Max Mosley: I wouldn't go that far. I think the mistake we made was that we didn't sit down at board level sooner. The thing that bedevilled it all in the beginning was the discussion about money. We didn't get properly involved until that discussion was resolved. I think had the car manufacturers not been engaged in that discussion they would have spoken to us and we would have resolved the situation much sooner.

Burkhard Göschel: That's true.

Q: Is the message to those below board level to either like it or lump it?

Max Mosley: The instructions come from the board. I think Lyndon Johnson's saying is apt about the 'hearts and minds soon following...'

Q: It's quite funny because people from the board are used to taking advice from their Formula One specialists...

Max Mosley: This is one of the problems. Picture the scene, the big boss is sitting in his office and in comes the head of competition and says 'I'm really sorry about this I need Euros 250m in order to compete with the Japanese.' In Japan, you have someone going in saying exactly the same about the Germans. The big boss is not in a position to analyse the budget to see how it could be done for less. He either pays out the 250m or quits F1. I think what has happened now more, particularly with the GPMA and particularly with Burkhard Göschel running it, is that the situation has been looked at. Do we need to spend 200m on an engine? Should we not be doing something different?

Burkhard Göschel: You have to be a strong character to survive in F1 and not to be influenced by things that are happening there. For a manager it is not an easy task. But you need to keep a clear head. At board level you can make rational decisions away from the excitement and emotion.

Q: You've retired from BMW but are you going to keep the same role in the GPMA?

Burkhard Göschel: My official title at BMW is now Senior Advisor to the Board of Management. My main task is F1 motor sports. And I will keep the position at the GPMA.

Q: Mr Mosley, you said we have just caught the tide. But as the organisation that is giving the rules to the sport why did you not decide to do this earlier?

Max Mosley: We have been preoccupied with other issues. We have had an awful lot of fruitless discussion. An awful lot of meetings where nothing came out, or meetings where no one came. So there was no possibility to look at the big issues until we had discussions at board level and that is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Q: Professor Göschel, CVC will obviously want to get the money back that they have spent at some point whether that would be via a flotation or a sale, do you have anything to fear from how CVC may choose to take their money out of the sport?

Burkhard Göschel: I don't think so. First F1 has to increase in value. So first some tasks have to be done to achieve this. The other part is how to make F1 more attractive for the fans and for TV. As GPMA (and previously GPWC) we asked the company ISE to make a proposal for a future F1 business. At some point we will discuss this with Donald McKenzie at CVC. We are open for those discussions. We have solved the financial issues and now we can look how to improve the sport. I think this can also be done in a very open and a very interesting way. We feel as manufacturers there are a number of opportunities for improvement.

Max Mosley: Also, I think it is worth saying the FIA has a 100-year agreement with Formula One Management and if we have a proper Concorde Agreement then the terms of that agreement would be such that it would not seriously affect any interest from the manufacturers if there was a change of ownership in FOM. It is all a question of getting the agreement right and I'm sure they will be having a good look at the agreement to make sure it achieves those objectives.

Q: One of the clauses in the current Concorde Agreement is that there should always be free-to-air coverage of F1 in its principal countries. Is that still as important to you as it was before?

Burkhard Göschel: Free TV is still as important an issue as it was before.

Q: So it will be in the new Concorde Agreement?

Burkhard Göschel: Yes.

Max Mosley: Yes. Unless there was some new technology that would give the sport a bigger audience than free-to-air TV. What they are talking about is an audience. It may well be that in the more distant future the internet will play a bigger role. The Formula One images should be freely available to the public. That is fundamental to the manufacturers and to us.

Q. How important are F1 races in Europe?

Max Mosley: They're important but there are still a disproportionate number of races in Europe.

Q: But we are running out of races in Europe year on year...

Max Mosley: Well this is the trend. If you look at the Olympic Games, for instance, over the last 100 years around 50% of them have been in Europe and that is a little bit out of balance and we are even worse. But we will get to the right balance between European and non-European races as markets development. Places like India, China, Russia, South America, Central America, they are all very important markets.

Burkhard Göschel: There are some questions to solve. For European car manufacturers, for example, Europe and the US are the biggest markets. There might be very fast growth in China, but more or less these are mass production cars. But in India the growth is a lot slower than China.

The US is still the most important market in the world. It is an area where F1 still has some weaknesses. There might be an interest from the car manufacturers to improve the situation in the US.

Q: But the European promoters are ready to pay the money that Bernie is asking whereas in Bahrain and Malaysia, for instance, we have just 30,000 spectators and the government is paying for it. So is the future of F1 just to ask if there is a government that pays the money?

Max Mosley: There are two points here. In the existing arrangements with FOM we have a clause that FOM cannot propose a calendar which involves the cancellation of a traditional event without the consent of the FIA. So we have a safety net there. But I don't doubt that when the manufacturers come to do their agreement they will ensure that part of their commercial interests in terms of the location of the races are taken into account. That will get resolved and as Burkhard said, America and Europe are the two biggest markets for them. So we would like to see another race in North America and probably not lose that many in Europe. The ultimate sacrifice may have to be made by the teams having 20 races. That is to be discussed.

Q: Given what Max has said do you feel it is important to have a race in Germany? In France? UK?

Burkhard Göschel: Yes. In Germany, France, UK, Italy and a new market which is very strong is Spain. But we have to discuss it because there are a limited number of races. But Europe is still a very important issue for the car manufacturers. As is the US.

Max Mosley: It's a huge area of discussion. But it is not something that is going to lead to any difficulties between us and the manufacturers that's for sure.

Q: Do you see a natural ceiling as to how many races there could be?

Max Mosley: I'd really like to ask the public what they want. But I think we have to be careful not to have too many. I think the number should be in the 16-20 bracket.

Burkhard Göschel: I agree.

Max Mosley: In the 2008 regulations the limit is 20 but I think Bernie has to pay the teams more for that. But 2009 will be another discussion.

Q: A few years ago you signalled your intention to resign as FIA President and then changed your mind. This agreement may be seen as a personal achievement of yours. At what stage do you see your work as being done?

Max Mosley: The main reason for the 'retirement' in 2004 was that I was completely bored and fed up with meetings of the F1 Commission that were a complete waste of time and got nowhere.

To answer your question I don't see myself going on with this beyond 2009. By which time everything will be set.

Q: Which is the next Presidential election?

Max Mosley: Correct. But suddenly for me all this has become very interesting. It has become as fascinating as a few years ago I found the whole crash-testing programme with NCAP. I think that Euro NCAP made a huge contribution to improving safety. I think what we have found here is going to accelerate the whole technology that reduces CO2 emissions, improves fuel economy, and above all helps make the public more conscious of the importance of those technologies. It is a huge change in F1 and one that it would be a privilege to be involved in. Whereas the mind-numbingly tedious discussions we used to have were not.

Q: One of the comments you get constantly from the teams in F1 is the feeling that Ferrari may have an undue degree of influence over the FIA and the way the sport unfolds. What is your feeling as to what degree that might change?

Burkhard Göschel: There are always a lot of rumours but if you talk to Jean Todt about those issues he says there is nothing in them. I don't want to discuss about those issues. I want to look to the future because I don't have any reason to complain. We have found a collaboration which is based on trust and it is a big change in my opinion compared to the past situation we had. I believe in this new situation and I feel the business is getting easier because we are sorting problems of the future in a very new way and I don't think about what happened before.

Q: Is this one of the more major image shifts in Formula One?

Max Mosley: Unquestionably. It is a fundamental change. It means we've completely changed the way we go about managing the rules. That is the first change and the first effect that has come out of that is the change in the attitude to the cutting-edge modern technology. It is such a big change it is almost quite difficult to grasp it.

Burkhard Göschel: There are some very conservative people in F1. Each change they cannot believe its true. There will be a lot of people who won't believe that the GPMA and the FIA have found this commonality, this trust, but it's true. It will take time, but everyone will believe it.

Q: So will the manufacturers and Professor Göschel himself now get a seat on the World Motor Sport Council?

Max Mosley: We haven't even discussed it. The way it works is that the World Council is a safety net. Representatives make proposals for rallying, for cross country, etc. but they are very seldom changed in the World Council. At the moment it is my task to present proposals for F1. It is a very important branch but only one branch of motor sport. So the reality is whether someone sits on the World Council or doesn't, doesn't change this process. It is purely psychological. There may be an argument about Ferrari's seat from a psychological point of view, but not from a practical point of view.

Q: A lot of decisions once again this season have been very controversial, do the manufacturers expect some improvement within the FIA in order to become a better referee?

Burkhard Göschel: We believe the FIA is playing its role as everyone is playing their role.

Max Mosley: You can't have stewards that don't do things you disagree with. In fact I wrote a piece the other day in a magazine and, for example, I personally wouldn't have given the penalty to Alonso in Monza, but the stewards were constrained by precedent. They felt it would be wrong to be inconsistent, particularly as they have been accused of being inconsistent in the past. On the other side, if I had been the steward in Hungary I would have sent Alonso home for brake testing. And I would not have given Schumacher a penalty because it was a red flag incident so no-one was competing for position and it was not dangerous. But the stewards say yellow flag is bad and red flag is worse. But it's my opinion. The good thing about my position is that it doesn't matter what I think in this situation. I can't call the stewards up and tell them to change their minds. If I could have I'd have changed them in Monza because it was quite obvious to me on Saturday night that there would be some journalists attacking me for this on Sunday morning. Now I have to defend my stewards even though I didn't agree. There's no way I could pick the phone up and say have another meeting in the morning and change your decision. And it would be wrong if I could.

It's an important separation of powers. You have a judiciary, an executive and a legislature. And the minute you start muddling these up you get problems.

The teams all wanted one person at every race for consistency. So we did that and he was consistent at Monza and they were all furious. You either want consistency or you don't. Sometimes, like a football referee, the steward might be wrong in someone's opinion. But it's the best we can do.

Q: What would you have done to Schumacher in Monte Carlo?

Max Mosley: I would have moved him back 10 places on the grid because technically you couldn't take away the times from the previous two sessions because they were null and void. It was a choice between moving back ten places or excluding him from the event. I might have been tempted to do this but wouldn't have done so because it would have been disappointing for the public. Moving him back 10 places was anyway a harsh enough penalty in Monaco.

Q: You said in Hungary it was very dangerous what Alonso did because it is forbidden to do it on the road. Now sometimes these guys are caught on the public roads in, say France or Italy, at 200kph. Then when they arrive in a press conference they treat it as a big laugh, which I don't think it is... They have a responsibility, an image...

Max Mosley: When I used to race you turned up at a race and you had to give your competition licence and your driving licence. If you didn't have your driving licence you didn't race. There is a strong argument for saying if you don't have a road licence you can't race.

But I think most drivers are very conscious of that.

Q: How long is the Concorde Agreement?

Max Mosley: Usually five years. The last one was 10 years but we're flexible. But at least five years.

Burkhard Göschel: Yes, at least five years.

-credit: fia

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari