Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Nelson Piquet – never a stranger to controversy during his grand prix career that spanned from 1978 to 1991 – has said he is 'upset' with Max Mosley over the recent sex scandal allegations, but only because the embattled FIA President did not invite anyone else along to the party.
The Brazilian was always considered something of a playboy during his time in the top flight, possessing a tongue that is capable of veering sharply from the acerbic to the playful when talking about his rivals and contemporaries. Though he is one of only a handful of high-profile figures within the sport to speak out in support of Mosley, it is perhaps not in the manner in which the 68-year-old would like.
“I am very upset with him,” the father of current Renault rookie Nelsinho Piquet joked, speaking to Spanish newspaper AS
in Barcelona this weekend. “Very upset, because he didn't invite anyone to his party!
“Is there no-one in Formula 1 who has ever had a sex party?”
There were less lighthearted words, however, from Spanish motor racing federation president Carlos Gracia, a man who sparked uproar with his remarks in the light of the racism row that followed the abuse aimed at Lewis Hamilton during testing at the Circuit de Catalunya back in early February.
campaign in response to that was launched in Barcelona on Thursday, but Gracia – the highest-ranking official within the sport in Spain – said he was pleased Mosley had elected to stay away, and predicted the beleagured president would not survive the vote of confidence due to be held on his future in the FIA Senate in Paris on 3 June.
“I'm delighted that Max is not here,” he told the Associated Press
. “He's damaged the FIA a lot with this. The FIA is an entity that needs to send out an image of credibility.”
There were also concerns in Jordan, where Mosley is this weekend in attendance at the country's inaugural appearance on the World Rally Championship calendar. Citroën boss Olivier Quesnel admitted to The Independent
that he was anxious about the possibility of bumping into motorsport's top man.
“We understand that it is his private life,” Quesnel acknowledged, “but the problem is that everybody knows what is in his private life.”
Indeed, it has been another uncomfortable weekend for Mosley, who was embarrassingly uninvited to Israel [see separate story – click here
] after it emerged sports minister Galeb Majadle had been unaware of the lurid allegations when he had met with the president in Jordan. The retraction of the offer casts further doubt on Mosley's ability to effectively rule the sport, despite his insistence that he intends to remain in his role until the expiry of his current tenure in October, 2009.