Mosley to continue as president of FIA

 

Max Mosley, the president of the FIA, kept his job yesterday after confronting the top grand prix teams who wanted him to resign because they think he interferes too much in the running of the sport.

Mosley met with his most vehement critics - believed to include Ron Dennis of McLaren and Flavio Briatore of Benetton - at a tense meeting of team owners and managers yesterday at a Heathrow airport hotel and accused them of plotting against him.

Insiders report that there was a highly charged exchange during which Mosley vigorously rebutted any suggestions that the governing body had been showing partiality towards Ferrari, as has been suggested by several other teams.

These include the feeling that Michael Schumacher has been allowed to get away far too often with contentious moves across the circuit to block rivals.

In addition, there is still much resentment over the way in which an FIA court of appeal last year reinstated the Ferraris of Eddie Irvine and Schumacher to first and second places in the Malaysian Grand Prix after they were initially disqualified.

"There is quite a high level of unrest with all the teams over a range of issues," said Dennis, before the meeting. However by the end of a tense day, Eddie Jordan emerged to say: "It was a good day, very productive and a good open forum."

It became clear that Mosley was determined to continue in his role at least until the end of his presidency in October 2001. Last week the 60-year-old indicated that it was "quite possible" he would stand again for another five-year term.

"The majority of the teams were very constructive throughout the meeting," said Mosley last night. "The general feeling is that we should have such meetings more frequently and I think that is what we will try to do."

In particular, teams are concerned about the implementation of the Formula One technical regulations. They believe the rules should be less ambiguous and clearly understood from the outset, rather than the FIA using its right of "rule clarification" to effectively change a rule.

Mosley was elected as president of the FIA in 1991. He has since shown a consistent determination to stamp his identity on the role of FIA president. Yesterday he said the FIA wanted to reduce grand prix meetings to two-day events, but was prepared to retain Friday free practice sessions only if the teams agreed to further limitations on testing.

He has also agreed to examine in detail suggestions from some teams to expand the use of electronic driver aids, in particular traction control.