FIA President he might no longer be, but Max Mosley's ongoing spat with Ferrari shows no signs of abating just yet, it seems, with the Englishman damningly accusing the famous Scuderia
of believing it has the right to be favoured within the sport – and of trying to 'fix' the governing body's decisions.
Mosley, of course, is the man who once so famously and controversially described Ferrari as the most important team in F1, but that reverence has somewhat dissipated of late, with the two parties very publicly crossing swords last year over the budget cap row, as the Prancing Horse scathingly argued that the then FIA President was conducting 'a holy war' against the sport's manufacturers in an effort to recruit entrants who belonged rather in GP2 or even GP3.
Now, on the eve of Ferrari's 800th grand prix around Turkey's demanding Istanbul Park Circuit – a race for which Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso have qualified a disappointing eighth and twelfth respectively [see separate story – click here
] – Mosley has sensationally claimed that F1's most famous competitor tried to pressurise the governing body early last year into abusing its own power by outlawing Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams' contentious double-diffuser innovation in order to boost the scarlet machines' chances.
“Luca [di Montezemolo – Ferrari President] does have this silly idea that if it is Ferrari then it is okay,” he told British newspaper the Daily Mail
. “When we had all this stuff about the double-diffuser he was on the 'phone every day saying, 'You have got to sort out the Court of Appeal and make sure we win'. He didn't put it as baldly as that, but that is what he said.
“I said, 'Luca, I'm sorry but first of all they wouldn't take any notice and secondly I am not going to do it'. I couldn't. He took that quite personally – he honestly thought I would.”
Another example of Ferrari expecting preferential treatment and even favours as the only team to have competed in every season of the F1 World Championship since its official inception back in 1950, Mosley said, was the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix barge board episode, when Michael Schumacher and team-mate Eddie Irvine were initially disqualified from the top two positions in Sepang and subsequently re-instated by the FIA Court of Appeal.
“Ferrari won that appeal quite rightly on the technicality,” the 70-year-old explained. “Two years later I was at the Turin Motor Show and I was invited into a little area where Gianni Agnelli [the head of Ferrari's parent company FIAT] came up to me and said, 'Thank you so much for what you did over the barge boards'. He honestly thought it had been fixed.”
Ferrari refused to comment on Mosley's remarks, conceding only that 'it's better to look ahead and not waste time talking about what is – luckily – old and gone', whilst in Istanbul, the man referred to as 'Mad Max' in some corners of the paddock did at least find one supporting voice.
“Whatever you say about Max, the only possibility of an independent Formula 1 team existing is because of what he did,” Williams' Adam Parr told The Times
, alluding to Mosley's cost-cutting zeal that was pivotal in enabling the likes of the former multiple world championship-winning Grove-based outfit to survive and successfully weather the current global economic storm.