Max Mosley has insisted that far from being pushed out of his position as President of the FIA by the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), it was always 'planned, agreed, arranged' that he would step down at the end of his current term.
The Englishman announced earlier today (Wednesday) that the weeks-long stand-off between FOTA and the sport's governing body is finally over, and that a satisfactory cost-cutting resolution has been found whereby the eight dissident teams will pledge their commitment to F1, thereby staving off the threat of a breakaway series. What's more, it was revealed that as part of the agreement reached, he would not be standing again for the most powerful and influential role in international motor racing beyond October.
However, Mosley was adamant that his departure was not
enforced upon him as a requirement of the deal, arguing that with peace and common ground having been established regarding the future direction of the championship in terms of reducing expenditure – without resorting to his controversial and unpopular budget cap initiative, but with existing competitors being bound to help newcomers with chassis' and engines – he could relinquish the reins with a clear conscience and confidence that F1 is in good hands to proceed forwards. Only days ago, he had hinted that he would likely be bidding to remain in the post for a fifth consecutive term.
“They (the teams) have got the rules they want and the stability, we've got the new teams in and we've got the cost reduction – that's very helpful,” the 69-year-old is quoted as having said by the BBC
. “There is no budget cap because costs will come down to the levels of the early 1990s in two years – it's a different way of doing the same thing. I always thought there wasn't much between us; now we've agreed there isn't.
“My departure was planned, agreed, arranged. As far as I'm concerned, the teams were always going to get rid of me in October; well, they still are. All the senior staff have known for months that I planned not to seek re-election, but obviously I did not want that decision to leak out as it would have undermined my authority.
“I couldn't say it publicly, because the moment you do you lose all your influence. Now I don't need influence, it's a satisfactory situation. I can have a peaceful summer for the first time in three years. Whether the person who succeeds me will be more to their liking remains to be seen...”
It has been pointed out, however, that whilst Mosley will turn 70 next year and has professed his desire to take a back seat, he has changed his mind before, having announced in June, 2004 that he would stand down that October, only to subsequently be persuaded otherwise when the FIA Senate asked him to stay. He has acted as FIA President since 1993.