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F1 People - Max Mosley - How the FIA President got to where he is today

Published by Christine

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Welcome to F1 People. This is the second in a Sidepodcast series giving you an insight into the names that have shaped Formula 1. Yesterday we took a closer look at Mr Ecclestone, and today we will be introducing his partner in crime, Max Mosley.

Max Mosley was born in 1940 to Sir Oswald Mosley and Diana Mitford. Oswald Mosley was a former leader of the British Union of Fascists, and Adolf Hitler was a guest at his wedding to Diana Mitford.

Mosley spent the majority of his childhood in Ireland and was sent to school in France, then Germany and then Oxford. By 1961, he had graduated from a college in Oxford with a degree in physics. He qualified as a solicitor after studying in London.

Visiting Silverstone in the early 60s convinced Mosley to join in the fun, and he raced in a few club events, before moving on to Formula 2, where he founded his own London Racing Team. He retired from racing in 1969, but stuck around in motorsport to become one of the founders of the March team. During the 60s, Mosley was an election agent for his father’s Union Movement Party. He ran as a candidate for a constituency in London but withdrew before the 1964 elections.

March was modestly successful within Formula 1, with three wins under their belt, most notably Jackie Stewart in 1970. The company was more successful as a production company for the Formula 2 series, and March cars won many championships below the top Formula.

Max Mosley joined Bernie Ecclestone within the Formula One Constructors Association, as legal advisor, and became very involved in the battle between the FOCA and the FISA. He was instrumental in the creation of the Concorde Agreement. After the agreement was signed and sorted, Mosley decided to take three years out of the sport but he returned as President of the Manufacturer’s Commission for the FIA in 1986. In 1991, he was elected President of the FISA – the motorsport subsidiary of the FIA – taking over from Jean-Marie Balestre. Mosley decided to resign after a year, but was re-elected for a four year term. He continued to be re-elected, and reigns to this day.

Most recently, Max Mosley has begun to lose favour within the sport, for many reasons. The relationship between Bernie Ecclestone, who gave him a break within the sport, seems to be falling apart slowly. The pair’s views and actions appear to be drifting gradually apart.

Max is not shy about making enemies. His previous success with Jackie Stewart in the March team is easily forgotten, and this year the pair have had a slanging match which includes lawyers. Stewart has called for Mosley’s resignation but he is not prepared to step down for anything he has said. Some think he has begun to say things that are completely unnecessary, and some of the things he says and opinions he shares are not really becoming to the President of the governing body.

Mosley’s current term expires in 2009, and he has announced that he will consider the options next year, but it is widely speculated that he will withdraw from the position. He has mentioned the absurdity of governing drivers who are young enough to be his grandchildren. But, at age 67, he is still going strong.

Thank you for listening to F1 People. Tomorrow we’ll have a look at our third important name in Formula 1.

Theme music: Natives of the New Dawn, People.

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