Bernie Ecclestone has claimed that it is time for the Formula 1 world to cast aside its doubts over the suitability of embattled FIA President Max Mosley - and allow him to return to doing the job 'he does 100 per cent'.

The sport's commercial supremo told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme that he expected the controversy surrounding Mosley's private life to fade away as the president returns to a more public profile, adding that he would welcome him in the paddock at this coming weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where the 68-year-old is expected to appear.

"I thought and was told it would [cost the sport support and financial backing]," Ecclestone explained of the tabloid sex scandal that engulfed Mosley earlier this year, "but I think, like all these things, people have now really come to the conclusion that whatever happened with Max was just Max, and nothing to do with anybody else.

"I don't think they really care any more. People forget all these things, and I think people will forget a lot of this nonsense. I really don't think people give a damn. At the time it was a shock; if it had happened to other people it probably wouldn't have been a shock.

"Max works, and does the best he can for the sport, for sure 100 per cent. All these people say they don't want to meet Max and don't want to do this or that...that's all going to disappear. I will welcome him back - he should come back and he should carry on like he's normally carried on."

The opinion marks a sharp u-turn on those put forth by Ecclestone at the height of the scandal, which absorbed the F1 - and wider motorsport - world through the early summer.

With half of the grand prix grid calling for the president's head, and several international motorsport authorities claiming that they would reconsider working with the Briton after his sexual proclivities were revealed in a UK tabloid, Ecclestone admits that he had felt it may be right for his friend to stand down from his high office.

"For a short period I said he should resign, because I had so much pressure from people to say he should resign," revealed the 77-year-old, who has worked closely alongside Mosley to shape Formula 1 since the 1970s. "In a lot of ways, at the time I wished he had done, but now I don't see why he should."

Mosley both survived a critical vote of confidence in the FIA Senate over his future capability to rule the sport, and subsequently won his high-profile court action against the News of the World, being awarded damages for invasion of privacy after the newspaper claimed he had taken part in a Nazi-themed orgy. His long-time ally and business partner is adamant that should now be the end of the matter.

As to how long the president remains in office, though - a topic for debate ever since the scandal broke back in late March - Ecclestone remained unconvinced that Mosley will keep to his word of vowing to voluntarily relinquish his responsibilities at the close of his current, and fourth, term in the role in October 2009.

"He's said he is going to stand down before and hasn't," he stated, "so I don't know. The problem really is, if we are really selfish and think of the sport as it is, it's difficult to know who is going to replace him to do the things he does.

"Sometimes I think he interferes in Formula 1 a little bit more than he should, but he's done an awful lot for road safety and things like that, which people don't hear about."


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