Max Mosley has said he genuinely believes the 2007 Formula 1
campaign was good for the sport, despite the real battle – that for the drivers' and constructors' world championships – being somewhat overshadowed by the subplot taking place away from the scenes in the courtroom.
In years to come, 2007 will be remembered for many things, from Lewis Hamilton's sensational, scene-stealing arrival on the grand prix stage to the murky goings-on of the so-called 'Spygate' scandal that rocked the sport to its core – and turned many of its recently-won fans away in disgust and disbelief. In an interview that may surprise many, though, Mosley is insistent F1 has come out of the year with its head held high, hinting that all publicity is good publicity.
“[It was] fascinating and very exciting,” the FIA
President told The Guardian
newspaper, “right down to the last few laps, which is what it should be.
“People are interested in the human aspect, and the whole human aspect of the Ferrari-McLaren thing fascinated a lot of people outside Formula 1. The publicity actually increases interest, so I don't think it does any harm to Formula 1
as long as the sponsors and so on feel the sport is honestly run and honestly governed.”
On the subject of the spying row, however, the 67-year-old – currently serving his fourth term in the sport's governing body's highest role – acknowledged he was happy it had not been a McLaren
driver who ultimately lifted the end-of-season laurels, having earlier stressed both Lewis Hamilton
and Fernando Alonso
should have been thrown out of the championship in much the same way as their Woking-based team was. He also admitted he found it 'extremely improbable' that McLaren
boss Ron Dennis knew nothing of the situation until it was exposed in the public eye.
“[I was] relieved because, if it had been either of the two McLaren
drivers, there would always have been a question mark,” he stated. “I'm not sure how big a question mark, but it would have been there. I think we've been very lucky.
“We found out that what they (McLaren) told us wasn't true. If, when Ron learnt about it, he had just called Jean Todt and said, 'Listen, you've got to know about Stepney,' we'd never even have heard about it.
“The next opportunity was when they got caught with all the documents, and he should have just come to the world council and said, 'Look, I'm really sorry, a few of my people know about it and I'm going to eradicate it'. There would have been a very modest fine and maybe a few points at the most, and it would all have been over.
“I quite like him (Dennis), but I do despise – I think that's probably the right word – his attitude to Formula 1, when he says, for example, that he's passionate about Formula 1. That's not true. He's passionate about McLaren
finishing first and second in every race, which is his job, but it's not the same thing as being passionate about Formula 1
and it's foolish to pretend that it is.”