Pressure increases on FIA's Mosley

Fallout is starting to land on FIA president Max Mosley in the wake of weekend allegations by a London tabloid about his private life. Formula One's major carmakers -- BMW, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota -- have issued statements to ...

Fallout is starting to land on FIA president Max Mosley in the wake of weekend allegations by a London tabloid about his private life.

Formula One's major carmakers -- BMW, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota -- have issued statements to distance themselves from the sex scandal and to reiterate their expectations of conduct by an FIA president. Renault and Ferrari have not issued statements.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, three-time world driving champion Sir Jackie Stewart on Thursday called Mosley's position "untenable."

A joint statement by German manufacturers BMW, owner of the BMW Sauber team, and Mercedes, 40 percent stake holder in the McLaren Mercedes team, called for a response from "relevant FIA bodies."

Mosley on Thursday called for an extraordinary meeting of the FIA General Assembly, the 222 presidents of member motoring organizations.

"The full membership of the FIA will be invited to attend the meeting at which the widespread publicity following an apparently illegal invasion of the FIA president's privacy will be discussed," an FIA statement read. The meeting is expected to take place in Paris at the earliest possible date.

A statement from Honda affirmed its position that "senior figures in sport and business maintain the highest standards of conduct."

Toyota's statement read: "Toyota Motorsport does not approve of any behavior which could be seen to damage Formula One's image, in particular any behavior which could be understood to be racist or anti-Semitic."

In a News of the World story that included photos and video, since taken from its website, Mosley allegedly participated in activities with prostitutes purportedly dressed in SS uniforms. The newspaper headlined the activity as "Nazi orgy."

In a response to the German carmakers, Mosley issued a statement to the news agency Reuters that read, "Given the history of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, particularly before and during the Second World War, I fully understand why they would wish to strongly distance themselves from what they rightly describe as the disgraceful content of these publications. Unfortunately, they did not contact me before putting out their statement to ask whether the content was in fact true. No doubt the FIA will respond to them in due course as I am about to respond to the newspaper in question."

Mosley, lawyer and Oxford graduate, is son of British Union of Fascists founder Oswald Mosley, who, with his wife, Lady Diana Mitford, Mosley's mother, was friend and admirer of Adolf Hitler. Mosley's family history impeded a political career. He reportedly went into motorsport after attending a race for the first time, at Silverstone, where his family history was either not known or found irrelevant. Mosley has decried allegations linking him to Nazism and said his behavior has been misrepresented. He has said he has backing within FIA constituencies and he will not stand down as FIA president.

Like Honda, Toyota in its statement said "senior figures within any sport or business, including motorsport, must adhere to high standards of behavior."

Toyota's statement went on to say, "When all the facts are known, it will be for the FIA to decide whether Mr Mosley has met the moral obligations which come with the position of FIA president."

Stewart made his remarks from Bahrain, where the F1 community has assembled for the fourth running of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

"Because of the global reach of motorsport, the different cultures and the different religions, the standards have got to be cleaner than clean in that job," Stewart said. "I think it will be very difficult to hold that job. If he were a chief executive officer he would already be gone from a public company.

"There will be many people wishing to give him support but they've got to look at the big picture. His position is untenable by the reaction of other people, not just as an opinion by someone such as myself."

Mosley's bowed out of an expected trip to the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend. Owner of F1's commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone first suggested Mosley not travel to the island nation, saying his presence at the Sakhir circuit would take attention from the race and that the royal family of Bahrain would not like that. The Times newspaper Thursday published a letter from the crown prince of Bahrain, Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, asking Mosley to stay away.

Formula One drivers at the Thursday news conference in Bahrain, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld, Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Williams's Nico Rosberg, refused comment on Mosley's situation.

Mosley has become an increasingly controversial figure recently. Last year's industrial espionage incident -- still under investigation by Italian police -- involved more than 700 pages of Ferrari data coming into the hands of McLaren employees and resulted in a $100 million fine, later halved, imposed on the English team. The FIA then excluded McLaren from the World Constructors Championship. Mosley proclaimed that McLaren team principal Ron Dennis had brought the sport into disrepute. Mosley brought legal action against The Sunday Times after former F1 driver and television commentator Martin Brundle wrote in The Sunday Times that the FIA had conducted a witch hunt against McLaren. Mosley also referred to Stewart, who questioned FIA actions in the spy scandal, as a "certified half-wit."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Martin Brundle , Jackie Stewart , Lewis Hamilton , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams