Max Mosley has dropped hints that he plans to defy the Formula One Teams' Association's 'clear objective' for him to resign from the most powerful and influential post in international motor racing – describing FOTA's attitude as 'extraordinary' in the light of the global economic climate and accusing the European Car Manufacturers' Association of a 'wholly unjustified criticism of... the entire structure and purpose of the FIA'.
A reunion of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Paris on Wednesday (24 June) is set to witness further eleventh-hour talks aimed at finding some common ground between the two warring factions of the FIA and FOTA, in an effort to avert the threat of a manufacturer-spearheaded breakaway series free from Mosley's controversial and unpopular jurisdiction.
It has been suggested that FOTA and Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo will lead a movement at the meeting demanding the Englishman's head, arguing that his increasingly autocratic and arbitrary governance of F1 has gone far enough and that his removal is the only means by which the split can be avoided. FOTA wrote to the WMSC earlier this month asking for its help to 'facilitate solutions', in what was widely interpreted as an attempt to bypass the FIA President.
Mosley, however – who previously ignored repeated calls to step down in the wake of the highly damaging News of the World
sex scandal early last year – has suggested that he will not be easily deposed, contending that it would be wrong to leave office amidst a crisis [see separate story – click here
], despite having vowed following his successful vote of confidence in May 2008 that he would not stand again for a fifth term.
'Over recent weeks it has become increasingly clear that one of the objectives of the dissident teams is that I should resign,' he wrote in a letter to FIA member clubs, published by Reuters
. 'However, in light of the attack on the mandate you have entrusted to me, I must now reflect on whether my original decision not to stand for re-election was indeed the right one.
'It is for the FIA membership, and the FIA membership alone, to decide on its democratically-elected leadership, not the motor industry and still less the individuals the industry employs to run its Formula 1 teams.'
Despite having appeared to soften his earlier stance on leading a lawsuit against the rebel teams – should they pursue their breakaway menace – in favour of a more conciliatory approach, Mosley added that legal proceedings would nonetheless be readied 'in case they are needed to protect the FIA's rights...and to discourage any dissident Formula 1 team from engaging in illegal acts'.
Not content to stop there, he also expressed his disappointment in the Brussels-based European Car Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), which last month issued a release in which it insisted that the top flight's 'current governance system cannot continue'. The 69-year-old described the statement as an 'attack on the FIA's right to regulate its Formula One World Championship but, worse, a wholly unjustified criticism of and direct challenge to the entire structure and purpose of the FIA', adding that 'no President of the FIA could allow this to go unanswered'.
'It is extraordinary that at a time when all five manufacturers involved are in great financial difficulty and relying on taxpayers' money, their Formula 1 teams should threaten a breakaway series in order to avoid reducing their Formula 1 costs,' he concluded, in reference to the very reason that prompted his radical cost-cutting drive in the first place – the worldwide credit crunch – and the debilitating effect it has had on the automotive sector in particular. 'It remains to be seen whether the boards of the parent companies will allow precious resources to be wasted in this way.'