Sir Jackie Stewart has renewed his call for a new face at the head of international motorsport as the row between the FIA and teams' organisation FOTA threatens to tear Formula One apart over the British Grand Prix weekend.
Never one to lavish praise on current FIA president Max Mosley, the Scot insists that it is time for the governing body to be overhauled in an effort to maintain F1's position at the pinnacle of the sport. Mosley's insistence on pushing through a £40m budget cap from 2010 has attracted opposition from eight of the ten current teams and, despite having new faces waiting in the wings, faces losing the likes of Ferrari and McLaren from F1 unless a resolution can be found to that problems and other more minor ones that have the two sides at loggerheads.
"I think the FIA, more than anything else, needs to be restructured," Stewart told Britain's Daily Telegraph
, "and for that infrastructure to have proper corporate governance, not one man saying 'there must be KERS', not one man telling every team they are going to go bankrupt if they don't cap spending. They [the FIA] are not even supposed to be involved in the commercial side of the sport.
"You could say that you need a dictator - and yes, it does work - but you know what? It doesn't last forever. Julius Caesar was pretty good at what he did, but what happened? He lost his empire."
Himself an ambassador for various brands to have passed through F1 over the years, the Scot claims to have had high-powered individuals - the sort that should be investing sponsorship - calling him up and asking what is going wrong with the sport.
"I have had two major, multinational corporations on the 'phone to me in the last two weeks asking 'Jackie, what are you going to do about your sport?'," he confirmed, "They said 'you have to tell them, you have to stop this dirty-laundry-in-public business. It's absolutely hideous and none of our clients like it'. These are the chairmen talking. They are starting to ask themselves why they are still involved in Formula One when they don't know where it is headed."