Sir Jackie Stewart has contended that Max Mosley has finally 'gone too far' with his radical cost-cutting drive in F1 and that whilst 'the fat lady hasn't sung yet' in the damaging FIA/FOTA budget cap civil war, in the interests of peace and of averting a permanent schism at the pinnacle of international motorsport, the 69-year-old should resign from his position.
The eight FOTA dissenters are locked in crisis talks today (Friday) as on-track practice takes place ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with Brawn GP team principal Ross Brawn having cancelled a BBC Radio Five Live
interview to attend a meeting in Ferrari's motorhome.
In the wake of a stalemate that has persisted for weeks – with the teams insisting that Mosley's £40 million budget cap is simply unworkable in such a short space of time, and the FIA President adamant that without it F1 will not survive – matters came to a head early this morning when FOTA announced that it was following through with its menace of forming a manufacturer-spearheaded breakaway series, a threat Mosley had previously dismissed.
Aside from the cost cap debate, the Englishman's increasingly autocratic and arbitrary style of governance is also under fire, with FOTA angry at the manner in which the new regulations were introduced without prior consultation with the teams – what it perceives to be a dangerous precedent and one that it deems cannot be allowed to endure.
Former triple world champion Stewart pointed to the unprecedented $100 million sporting fine meted out to McLaren-Mercedes over the infamous espionage row two years ago as a sign that Mosley's rule is not as unbiased as it should be. The Scot suggested that the only way for F1 to avoid splitting irrevocably in two, as CART/Champ Cars and the Indy Racing League did across the Pond over a decade ago, would be for Mosley – whose involvement in a tabloid sex scandal early last year did untold damage to the sport – to step down. His current term in the most powerful and influential post in international motor racing is due to expire in October, and he has yet to reveal whether or not he intends to stand again.
“The fat lady hasn't sung yet,” Stewart – who has rarely seen eye-to-eye with Mosley, and who was famously labelled a 'certified halfwit' by the FIA President two years ago – told international news agency Reuters
. “FOTA have made a decision that they cannot go on with the governance in its present form. I think they (the teams) do want Max to go, because frankly some of the decisions made over the years have been very questionable.
“For example, [there was] a $100 million fine on McLaren for something that was never proven. Never in the history of sport has such an amount of money been levied by a sporting authority – and that was something that he drove.
“If there is room for further discussion and the governance backs off from some of its insistencies, it may well be that they can come together under a new set of management. I think the trouble is that Max has gone too far with this and the teams have suddenly said 'I'm sorry, we can't take it any more'.
“I think a lot of people are kind of fed up with the dictatorial attitude. He has a great position of power, but big trees do blow over. It may well be that Max Mosley has to go.”