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Max Mosley

Max Mosley has been president of the influential FIA since 1991.
Max Mosley
Birth date 04/13/1940
Birth place London, England
Nationality 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom.png British
Title President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile
Predecessor Jean-Marie Balestre
Parents Sir Oswald Mosley (deceased) and Diana, Lady Mosley (deceased)

Max Rufus Mosley (born 13 April 1940) is president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), a non-profit association that represents the interests of motoring organisations and car users worldwide. The FIA is also the governing body for Formula One and other international motorsports.

A former barrister and amateur racing driver, Mosley was a founder and co-owner of March Engineering, a successful racing car constructor and Formula One racing team. He looked after legal and commercial issues for the company between 1969 and 1977. In the late 1970s, Mosley became the official legal adviser to the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA), the body which represents Formula One constructors. In this role he drew up the first version of the Concorde Agreement, which settled a long-standing dispute between FOCA and the Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA), the then governing body of Formula One. Mosley was elected president of FISA in 1991 and became president of the FIA, FISA's parent body, in 1993. Mosley has identified his major achievement as FIA President as the promotion of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP or Encap), a European car safety performance assessment programme. He has also promoted increased safety and the use of green technologies in motor racing. In 2008, stories about his sex life appeared in the British press. Despite the controversy, Mosley retained his position.

Mosley is the son of Oswald Mosley, former leader of the British Union of Fascists (BUF), and Diana Mitford. He was educated in France, Germany and Britain before going on to attend university at Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated with a degree in physics. In his teens and early twenties Mosley was involved with his father's post-war political party, the Union Movement (UM). He has said that the association of his surname with fascism stopped him from developing his interest in politics further, although he briefly worked for the Conservative Party in the early 1980s.

Family and early life

Sir Oswald Mosley was a Labour minister, and a Member of Parliament for both the Conservative and Labour parties in the 1920s. By the 1930s, he had left mainstream politics and become the leader of the British Union of Fascists (BUF). His first wife died in 1933, and in 1936 Sir Oswald married Diana Mitford, in a ceremony in Germany attended by Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler. Max was born in London early in the Second World War, in April 1940. In May, Sir Oswald, who had campaigned for a negotiated peace with Nazi Germany, was interned by the British Authorities under Defence Regulation 18B, along with most other active fascists in Britain. Lady Mosley was imprisoned a month later.

Max and his brother Alexander were not included in this internship and as a result were separated from their parents for the first few years of their lives. In December 1940, then prime minister Winston Churchill, who knew Lady Mosley socially, asked Home Secretary Herbert Morrison to ensure Lady Mosley was able to see Max—whom she had christened the Entschlossener (the determined one)—regularly.

Sir Oswald and Lady Mosley were released from detention at HMP Holloway on 16 November 1943, provoking widespread public protests. Their children were refused entry to several schools, due to a combination of their wildness and their parents' reputation, and were initially tutored at home. The family moved to a succession of country houses in England. Mosley's older half-brother Nicholas describes the family, including Sir Oswald’s children from his first marriage, spending the summer of 1945 getting the harvest in and shooting at Crowood farm. In 1950, the Mosleys bought houses in the Republic of Ireland, and in Orsay, near Paris. The family spent the year moving around Europe, spending the spring in France and the autumn and winter in Ireland, where Mosley was keen on riding and hunting. His aunt Nancy Mitford, in letters to Evelyn Waugh, recalled Sir Oswald and his family cruising the Mediterranean sea on the family yacht. On one such trip they visited Spain and were entertained by Sir Oswald's friend, General Franco.

Initially Mosley was educated in France, then at the age of 13 he was sent to Stein an der Traun in Germany for two years, where he learned to speak fluent German. On his return to England he was educated at Millfield boarding school. He attended Christ Church at Oxford University, graduating with a degree in physics in 1961. During his time there he was Secretary of the Oxford Union. In 1961, Mosley campaigned under the slogan "Free speech for fascists" when his father's invitation to speak at the Union was opposed. Shortly afterwards, Mosley introduced his father to Robert Skidelsky, one of Mosley's contemporaries at the university, who later wrote Sir Oswald's biography. Mosley went on to study law at Gray's Inn in London, specialising in patent and trademark law, and qualified as a barrister in 1964. Northumbria University awarded Mosley a Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law in 2005. During the early 1960s, Mosley was also a member of the Territorial Army, training as a parachutist.

Mosley, like many of Formula One's drivers, lives in Monaco. He married Jean Taylor in 1960; they have two children: Alexander, who was born in 1970, and Patrick, who was born in 1972. In addition to his brother, Mosley has five older half-siblings. On his father's side they are Vivien Mosley, the novelist Nicholas Mosley, 3rd Baron Ravensdale and Michael Mosley. On his mother's side they are the Irish preservationist, Desmond Guinness, and the merchant banker, Jonathan Guinness, 3rd Baron Moyne.


From their teens to early twenties, Mosley and Alexander were involved with their father's post-war party, the Union Movement (UM), which advocated a united Europe as its core issue. Trevor Grundy, a central figure in the UM's Youth Movement, writes of the 16-year-old Mosley painting the flash and circle symbol on walls in London on the night of the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary (4 November 1956). The flash and circle was used by both the UM and the pre-war BUF. He also says Mosley organised a couple of large parties as a way "to get in with lively, ordinary, normal young people, girls as well as boys, and attract them to the Movement by showing that we were like them and didn't go on about Hitler and Mussolini, Franco and British Fascism all the time." Mosley met his future wife Jean at such a party. Mosley and Alexander were photographed posing as Teddy Boys in Notting Hill during the 1958 race riots between Afro-Caribbeans and local white gangs of Teddy Boys. The following year, they canvassed for their father when he ran as a Union Movement candidate for the nearby Kensington North seat in the 1959 General Election. Sir Oswald used racist rhetoric during the campaign, which was run largely on anti-immigration issues.

Mosley was later an election agent for the Union Movement, supporting Walter Hesketh as parliamentary candidate for Moss Side in 1962. The motor racing journalist Alan Henry describes him as one of his father's "right-hand men" at the time of a violent incident in 1962, in which Sir Oswald was knocked down by a mob in London and saved from serious injury by his son's intervention. As a result of his involvement in this fracas, Mosley was arrested and charged with threatening behaviour. He was later cleared at Old Street Magistrates' Court on the grounds that he was trying to protect his father.

In the early 1980s, Mosley attempted a political career, working for the UK Conservative Party and hoping to become a parliamentary candidate. Bernie Ecclestone's biographer, Terry Lovell, writes that he gave up this aspiration after being unimpressed by "the calibre of senior party officials". He also felt his name would be a handicap and has since said "If I had a completely open choice in my life, I would have chosen party politics, but because of my name, that's impossible."

Racing career

While Mosley was at University, his wife was given tickets to a motor race at the Silverstone circuit. The circuit was not far from Oxford, and the couple went out of curiosity. Mosley was attracted by the sport, and when his career as a barrister was bringing in sufficient money, he started racing cars himself. The sport's indifference to his background appealed to Mosley:

"There was always a certain amount of trouble [being the son of Sir Oswald] until I came into motor racing. And in one of the first races I ever took part in there was a list of people when they put the practice times [...] and I heard somebody say, 'Mosley, Max Mosley, he must be some relation of Alf Mosley, the coachbuilder.' And I thought to myself, 'I've found a world where they don't know about Oswald Mosley.' And it has always been a bit like that in motor racing: nobody gives a darn."

At national level in the UK, Mosley competed in over 40 races in 1966 and 1967; he won 12 and set several class lap records. In 1968, he formed the London Racing Team in partnership with driver Chris Lambert to compete in European Formula Two, the level of racing just below Formula One. Their cars were prepared by Frank Williams, later a Formula One team owner. It was a dangerous time to race. Early in the year, Mosley competed in the Formula Two race at Hockenheim in which double world champion Jim Clark was killed, and within two years both of Mosley's 1968 team mates were dead in racing accidents. Mosley's best result that year was an eighth place at a non-championship race at Monza.

March Engineering

"Everything we'd set out to do, we'd done, and there were two of our cars sitting on the front [...] and you could feel the annoyance, the hatred almost, of some of the Grand Prix establishment because we'd pulled it off. It was one of the most extraordinary moments of my life." Mosley, recalling March's first F1 race, the 1970 South African Grand Prix

Mosley's legal skills were frequently called on at March: one example was a contract dispute with Frank Costin, designer of the novel aerodynamics of the March 711 seen here.

In 1969, after two large accidents due to breakages on his Lotus car, Mosley decided that "it was evident that I wasn't going to be World Champion" and retired from driving. He was already working with Robin Herd, Alan Rees and Graham Coaker to establish the racing car manufacturer March Engineering where he handled legal and commercial matters. The name March is an acronym based on the initials of the founders; the 'M' stands for Mosley. Like the other founders, Mosley put in £2,500 of capital. His father told him that the company "would certainly go bankrupt, but it would be good experience for a later career."

Mosley played a key role in publicising the new outfit. Although March had few resources and limited experience, the firm announced ambitious plans to enter Formula One, the pinnacle of single-seater racing, in 1970. The team had initially intended to enter a single car, but by the beginning of the season (partly due to deals made by Mosley), the number of March cars entered for their first Formula One race had risen to five. Two of these were run by March's own in-house works team and the rest by customer teams. Mosley also negotiated sponsorship from tyre maker Firestone and oil additive manufacturer STP.

The new operation was initially successful. In Formula One, March cars won three of their first four races. One of these was a world championship race, the 1970 Spanish Grand Prix, won by reigning world champion Jackie Stewart in a customer car run by Tyrrell Racing. As a result, March finished third in the 1970 Constructors' Championship. The factory also sold 40 cars to customers in various lower formulae. Despite these successes, the organisation got into financial difficulty almost immediately. The Formula One operation was costing more than the customer car business was making. The March works team's contract with its lead driver, Chris Amon, was expensive, and Mosley, in his own words, "tried at every opportunity to get rid of him". He reasoned that Stewart's highly competitive customer car was enough to show March in a good light. Amon stayed to the end of the year, but Mosley succeeded in "restructuring" his contract, saving the company some much-needed money. At the end of the season, Mosley successfully demanded full control of the finances, including the factory run by Coaker, who left shortly afterwards. Mosley and Herd borrowed £20,000 from relatives and friends to support the company into its second year. According to Lovell the money came from Mosley's half-brother, Jonathan Guinness.

Tyrrell started making its own cars towards the end of 1970, and March's 1971 program in Formula One was much reduced, with no recognised front-running driver. The Firestone and STP sponsorship was insufficient and Mosley failed to attract a large backer for 1971. Motorsport author Mike Lawrence has suggested that the shortfall forced him into short-term deals, which maintained cashflow, but were not in the best long-term interests of the company. Mosley negotiated a deal for the team to use Alfa Romeo engines in a third car, bringing much needed funding. The engines proved uncompetitive, and his hopes of an ongoing partnership with the Italian automobile manufacturer were not met. Nonetheless, March again finished third in the constructors championship, and works driver Ronnie Peterson, in a Cosworth DFV-powered car, was second in the Drivers' Championship. March's financial woes continued: the company had lost £71,000 at the end of 1971. Mosley and Rees disagreed over how to rectify the situation and Rees left March early in 1972.

Mosley pushed for the unusual six-wheeled March 2-4-0 to be built as a publicity device. Sales of models of the car are said to make it the most profitable car the company ever made.

March was more successful in selling large numbers of customer cars in the lower formulae. Mosley organised extensive test sessions for the 1971 cars for journalists and drivers, and arranged a successful scheme for drivers to rent cars and engines for the season, rather than buying them outright. Losing money on a deal to supply Jochen Neerpasch, then motorsport manager at Ford, with a Formula Two car paid off when Neerpasch moved to BMW and offered March an exclusive deal in 1972 to use BMW's Formula Two engine. March cars powered by BMW engines won five of the next 11 European Formula Two championships. However, BMW also put pressure on Herd to concentrate on the Formula Two programme. As a result, he spent less time with the Formula One team, where Mosley started to act as a race engineer.

Although March considered quitting Formula One on several occasions, money was always found to support at least one car. Motorsport historian Mike Lawrence credits Mosley with pressing for a six-wheeled March to be built as a draw for sponsors, having seen the popularity with fans of Tyrrell's six-wheeled P34. The resulting March 2-4-0 never competed in Formula One, but generated the required publicity and a Scalextric slotcar model was profitable. Mosley spent much of his time negotiating deals for drivers with sponsorship and was also successful in selling Marches to other Formula One teams, such as Williams and Penske. The cars were rarely frontrunners, although the works team won a single race in both 1975 and 1976. By the end of 1977, Mosley was fed up with the struggle to compete in Formula One with no resources and left to work for FOCA full time, selling his shares in the company to Herd but remaining as a director. March's involvement in Formula One ended the same year.

Formula One Constructors Association

From 1969, Mosley was invited to represent March at the Grand Prix Constructors' Association (GPCA), which negotiated joint deals on behalf of its member teams. Although the new March organisation was not popular with the established teams, Mosley has said that "when they went along to meetings to discuss things such as prize money, they felt they ought to take me along because I was a lawyer". He was unimpressed with the standard of negotiations: "our side all went in a group because no-one trusted anyone else and all were afraid that someone would break ranks and make a private deal. In 1971, British businessman Bernie Ecclestone bought the Brabham team, and Mosley recalls that: "Within about 20 minutes of [Ecclestone] turning up at the [GPCA] meeting, it was apparent that here was someone who knew how many beans made five and after about half an hour he moved round the table to sit next to me, and from then on he and I started operating as a team. Within a very short time, the two of us were doing everything for the GPCA, instead of everyone moving around in a block, and from that developed FOCA."

The Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) was created in 1974 by Ecclestone, Colin Chapman, Teddy Mayer, Mosley, Ken Tyrrell and Frank Williams. FOCA would represent the commercial interests of the teams at meetings with the Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA), motorsport's world governing body. After leaving March at the end of 1977, Mosley officially became legal advisor to FOCA, which was led by Ecclestone. In his biography of Ecclestone, Terry Lovell suggests that he appointed Mosley to this role not only because of his legal ability, but also because he "saw in Mosley the necessary diplomatic and political skills that made him perfectly suited to the establishment of the FIA". The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) was FISA's parent body, representing car users worldwide. In the same year, Mosley was nominated for a role at the FIA Bureau Internationale de Constructeurs d'Automobile. His nomination was blocked by French, Italian and German manufacturers.

In the early 1980s, Mosley represented FOCA in the "FISA-FOCA War", a conflict between FOCA, representing the mainly UK-based independent teams, and FISA, which was supported by the "grandee" constructors owned by road car manufacturers (primarily Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Renault). In 1981, FOCA announced its own World Federation of Motor Sport and ran the non-championship 1981 South African Grand Prix. The staging of this event, with worldwide television coverage, helped persuade Jean-Marie Balestre, the FISA president, that FISA would have to negotiate a settlement with FOCA. As Mosley has since commented: "We were absolutely skint. If Balestre could have held the manufacturer's support for a little bit longer, the constructors would have been on their knees. The outcome would then have been very different." Mosley helped draw up the Concorde Agreement, a document which resolved the dispute by essentially giving FISA control of the rules and FOCA control of promotion and television rights. The most recent version of the Concorde Agreement expired on 31 December 2007, and a new one was being discussed, as of 2008. In 1982, the year after the first Concorde Agreement was signed, Mosley left his role at FOCA, and Formula One, to work for the Conservative Party.

FISA presidency

Mosley returned to motorsport in 1986, with the support of Ecclestone and Balestre, to become president of the FISA Manufacturers' Commission, the successor to the Bureau Internationale de Constructeurs d'Automobile. That same year, he established Simtek Research, a racing technical consultancy firm, with Nick Wirth, a former March employee. He sold his share of Simtek in 1991, when elected president of the FISA. According to Lovell, in 1987 Mosley suggested to Balestre that he could deal with his problems with Ecclestone by "mak[ing] him a member of the establishment". Later that year Ecclestone was appointed vice-president of the FIA's promotional affairs, with authority over Formula One and the other motor sports authorised by the FIA.

In 1991, Mosley challenged Balestre for the presidency of FISA. Mosley said that his decision to challenge the Frenchman was prompted by Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna's disqualification from the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix after a collision with his team mate Alain Prost: "What happened to Ayrton Senna two years ago in Japan, disgusted me, [...] That is when I realised that Fisa [sic] was not a fair organisation." Balestre was widely reported at the time to have intervened on behalf of his countryman Prost to ensure that the race stewards disqualified Senna from the race, although Lovell writes that he did not. Mosley campaigned on the basis that Balestre, who was also president of the FIA and of the Fédération Française du Sport Automobile, could not effectively manage all these roles together. Mosley won the FISA presidency by 43 votes to 29; Balestre remained as FIA president. Mosley resigned a year later, fulfilling a promise made during his election campaign to seek a re-affirmation of his mandate. "I wanted to show people that I do what I say", he said. "Now they can judge me in a year's time." FISA immediately re-elected him for a four-year term.

FIA presidency

Three-times WTCC Champion Andy Priaulx wearing the HANS device now mandated in FIA championships


In 1993, Mosley agreed with Balestre that the Frenchman would stand down as president of the FIA in Mosley's favour, in return for the new role of President of the FIA Senate, to be created after Mosley's election. As well as motorsport, the FIA's remit includes the interests of motorists worldwide, an area in which Mosley wanted to involve himself: "That is what really interested me [in F1] you maybe save one life every five years, whereas [in] road safety you are talking about thousands of lives". A challenge to Mosley's election by Jeffrey Rose, chairman of the British Royal Automobile Club, was withdrawn when it became clear that the majority of voters were already committed to Mosley. The FISA was then merged into the FIA as its sporting arm.

After the deaths of drivers Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, worldwide media attention focused on the charismatic triple-world champion Senna, rather than Ratzenberger, a virtual unknown driving for the minor Simtek team. Mosley did not go to Senna's funeral, but attended that of Ratzenberger. In a press conference 10 years later Mosley said, "I went to his funeral because everyone went to Senna's. I thought it was important that somebody went to his." In the aftermath of the deaths, and a number of other serious accidents, Mosley announced the formation of the Advisory Expert Group chaired by Professor Sid Watkins, to research and improve safety in motor racing. Watkins, who learned of his new role by hearing the story on the radio, has called it a "novel and revolutionary approach". The resulting changes have included reducing the capacity and power of engines, the use of grooved tyres to reduce cornering speeds, the introduction of the HANS device to protect drivers' necks in accidents, circuit re-design and greatly increased requirements for crash testing of chassis. Mosley was criticised for some of the very rapid changes announced in the immediate aftermath of the deaths at the San Marino race.

In 1995, a deal was signed between Ecclestone and the FIA that passed all of the commercial rights to Formula One to him for 15 years, on the condition that they would return to the FIA at the end of that period. Ecclestone had been building up Formula One as a television package since the early 1990s, investing heavily in new digital television technology. For the duration of the deal, the FIA would receive an index-linked annual fixed royalty, estimated by Lovell at around 15%. Mosley said "My belief is that I got a better deal than anyone else could have because it was more difficult for Ecclestone to take a hard line with me as we had worked together for so long." The following year the FIA also passed the rights to all its other directly sanctioned championships and events to Ecclestone, also for 15 years, then added a 10-year extension to the F1 contract in return for a 10% share in Ecclestone's proposed flotation of Formula One. Mosley's agreement with Ecclestone on TV rights for F1 angered three of the team principals in particular: Ron Dennis (McLaren), Frank Williams (Williams) and Ken Tyrrell (Tyrrell), who felt that neither Ecclestone nor the FIA had the right to make such an agreement without the teams. They refused to sign the 1997 Concorde Agreement without increased financial returns and threatened to make a complaint under European Union competition rules. The European Commission was already investigating the FIA’s agreement with Ecclestone in what Lovell has called a “highly personal and bitter battle between Max Mosley and [EU commissioner Karel] van Miert”.


Mosley was elected to his second term as president of the FIA in October 1997.

Later that year, the EU Commission Directorate-General for Competition made a preliminary decision against Ecclestone and the FIA. The resulting warning letters from van Miert to the FIA and Ecclestone were leaked and ended the attempt to float F1; the FIA won a case against the Commission for the leakage in 1998.

At the same time, a local court in Germany ruled that the television rights to the FIA European Truck Racing Cup (passed to Ecclestone by the FIA the previous year, along with all other FIA authorised championships) should be returned to the series organiser. Mosley immediately cancelled the series, but reversed the decision when threatened with a fine or prison sentence by the court. Between 1997 and 2000 Mosley repeatedly said that if the EU decision went against the FIA, the marketing organisations and F1 itself would be moved out of Europe. In 2000, the EU Commission Directorate-General for Competition decided that the FIA’s practices were against European competition law. The rights to FIA-authorised series were returned to the series organisers. In order to maintain Ecclestone's investment to deliver digital television and satisfy the EU that the rights had effectively been disposed of by the FIA, Mosley came up with the idea of extending Ecclestone's rights for F1 coverage to 100 years from the initial 15. He removed himself from the detailed negotiations, which eventually returned around $300 million (£150 million) for the 100-year rights, a figure which Lovell compares to the £600 million KirchGruppe paid for the rights to the 2002 Football World Cup and the £1.1 billion British Sky Broadcasting paid for a three year package of English Premier League football.

From the late 1960s to the early 2000s, F1 teams were heavily dependent on funding from cigarette companies like Rothmans. Mosley attempted to delay European legislation to outlaw the practice.

Over the same period, Mosley was attempting to delay European legislation banning tobacco advertising. At this time all leading Formula One teams carried significant branding from tobacco brands such as Rothmans, West, Marlboro and Mild Seven. The Labour party had pledged to ban tobacco advertising in its manifesto ahead of its 1997 General Election victory, supporting a proposed European Union Directive. The Labour Party's stance on banning tobacco advertising was reinforced following the election by forceful statements from the Health Secretary Frank Dobson and Minister for Public Health Tessa Jowell. Ecclestone appealed "over Jowell's head" to Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's chief of staff, who arranged a meeting with Blair. Ecclestone and Mosley, both Labour Party donors, met Blair on 16 October 1997. Mosley argued that the proposed legislation was illegal by EU rules, that Formula One needed more time to find alternative sources of funding and that the prompt introduction of a ban would lead to races being held outside Europe, while the coverage, including tobacco logos, would still be broadcast into the EU.

He also argued that: "Motor racing was a world class industry which put Britain at the hi-tech edge. Deprived of tobacco money, Formula One would move abroad at the loss of 50,000 jobs, 150,000 part-time jobs and £900 million of exports." On 4 November the "fiercely anti-tobacco Jowell" argued in Brussels for an exemption for Formula One. Media attention initially focused on Labour bending its principles for a "glamour sport" and on the "false trail" of Jowell's husband's links to the Benetton Formula One team. On 6 November correspondents from three newspapers inquired whether Labour had received any donations from Ecclestone; he had donated £1 million in January 1997. On 11 November Labour promised to return the money on the advice of Sir Patrick Neill. On 17 November Blair apologised for his government's mishandling of the affair and stated "the decision to exempt Formula One from tobacco sponsorship was taken two weeks later. It was in response to fears that Britain might lose the industry overseas to Asian countries who were bidding for it."

The revised directive went into force in June 1998, and banned sponsorship from 2003, with a further three year extension for "global sports such as Formula One". On 5 October 2000, the directive was successfully overturned in the European Court of Justice on the grounds that it was unlawful. A new Tobacco Advertising Directive took effect in July 2005; the Financial Times described Mosley as "furious" that this was a year earlier than provided for under the 1998 directive. As of 2009, Ferrari is the only F1 team to retain tobacco sponsorship, although the team carries no explicit branding in races because of the European legislation. All of the F1 teams remain in Europe, and six are in the UK, compared to seven of eleven at the end of 1997.

Asked in a 2003 interview about his most enduring achievement as president of the FIA, Mosley replied: "I think using Formula One to push Encap Crash-Testing." The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP or Encap) is a European car safety performance assessment programme that originated with work done by the Transport Research Laboratory for the UK Department for Transport. The FIA became involved in the programme in 1996, taking a lead in promoting it, and Mosley chaired the initiative from its launch as Euro NCAP in 1997 to 2004. Despite what NCAP describes as a "strong negative response" from car manufacturers at first, the initiative has expanded, and NCAP reports a clear increase in the safety of modern cars as a result. Mosley has continued to promote the matter through his membership of initiatives such as CARS 21, the European Commission’s policy group aimed at improving the worldwide competitiveness of the European automotive industry.


Formula One Fans at the controversial 2005 United States Grand Prix holding a banner with the words "Blame Mosley"

Mosley was elected to his third term as president of the FIA in 2001. In June 2004, Mosley announced that he would step down from his position in October of that year, one year early, saying "I no longer find it either satisfying or interesting to sit in long meetings [...] I have achieved in this job everything I set out to [...]". One month later, he rescinded his decision after the FIA Senate called for him to stay on. According to a BBC Sport profile, many insiders considered that the announcement, and Mosley's public disagreements with Ecclestone, were "just part of a well crafted plan to strengthen their control over the sport"; Ron Dennis, the McLaren team principal, suggested that it arose because Mosley's proposals for Formula One met opposition. In 2004, Mosley said he felt Ferrari's then-team principal Jean Todt should succeed him as president of the FIA when he stepped down.

The 2005 United States Grand Prix was run with only six cars, after the Michelin tyres used by the other 14 cars proved unsafe for the circuit. A proposal involving the addition of a temporary chicane to slow cars through the fastest corner of the circuit was rejected by Mosley. This effectively forced the teams running Michelin tyres to pull out for safety reasons. Paul Stoddart, the then-owner of the Minardi team, was prepared to compromise to accommodate Michelin teams—even though a reduced field would guarantee his team much needed points—and was particularly vocal in his criticism and renewed his calls for Mosley to resign.


Mosley was elected unopposed to his fourth term as president of the FIA in 2005. In recognition of his contribution to road safety and motorsport, Mosley was made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur in 2006. The Legion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour) is France's highest decoration for outstanding achievements in military or civil life, a Chevalier (Knight) is the fifth class.

Environmental awareness

Mosley has said that he wants Formula One to start developing green technology. Continuing a theme of his presidency, he has called for Formula One manufacturers to develop technology relevant to road cars. In recent years, a large proportion of the enormous budget of Formula One has been spent on the development of very powerful, very high-revving engines, which some say have little applicability to road cars. Mosley has announced a 10-year freeze on the development of engines, which would allow manufacturers to spend more of their budgets on environmentally friendly technology such as the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS).

In July 2008, Mosley sent a letter to the Formula One teams, in which he called for the teams to propose future sporting regulations to address specific issues. Among these issues is reduced fuel consumption. The targeted reductions would be twenty percent for the 2011 season, increasing to fifty percent by 2015.


The 2007 Formula One season was dominated by Ferrari's accusations that the McLaren team had made illegal use of their intellectual property, leading to legal cases in the United Kingdom and Italy. Unlike previous cases, such as the Toyota team's illegal use of Ferrari intellectual property in 2004, the FIA investigated the case and eventually fined McLaren a net $100M and excluded the team from the 2007 constructors' championship. Later in the year, the Renault team was found guilty by the FIA of possessing McLaren's intellectual property, but was not punished.

Triple world champion Jackie Stewart criticised Mosley and was called a "certified half-wit" by him; the Scot, who is dyslexic, has since said that others did not back McLaren for "fear of repercussions". ITV commentator and Times columnist Martin Brundle was among those who criticised the FIA and Mosley for inconsistency; he subsequently received a writ for questioning the "energetic manner" in which he felt Mosley was pursuing McLaren.

Following the alleged racist abuse aimed at McLaren's mixed-race driver Lewis Hamilton during testing ahead of the 2008 season, Mosley has said he will impose immediate sanctions if there is a repeat.

At the start of 2008, Mosley said that he wanted to see through reforms such as budget capping and new technologies like KERS successfully introduced into Formula One before retiring. He has been quoted as saying "Provided I remain relatively sane I won’t quit before October 2009."

News of the World allegations

In March 2008, the News of the World, a British tabloid newspaper, released video footage of Mosley engaged in sado-masochistic sexual acts with five prostitutes in a scenario that the paper said involved Nazi role-playing. Mosley admitted "the embarrassment the revelations caused", but said that there was no Nazi theme involved. He was strongly criticised by former drivers, motor manufacturers and several of the national motoring bodies who form the FIA. His involvement in several high level motor sport events was cancelled. Public expressions of support were limited, although Mosley says that he received much supportive correspondence. Mosley's long time ally Ecclestone eventually appeared to support Mosley's removal.

Mosley won a vote of confidence at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the FIA on June 3, with 103 votes in support and 55 against, with seven abstentions and four invalid votes. Later, clubs including ADAC, AAA and the KNAF threatened withdrawal from the FIA if Mosley would not resign.Other formerly critical organisations have since said that they will accept the outcome of the vote and now wish to move on. In July 2008, Mosley won a High Court legal case against the News of the World for invasion of privacy. The presiding judge, Mr Justice Eady, said: "I see no genuine basis at all for the suggestion that the participants mocked the victims of the Holocaust."

In December 2008, Mosley said that he was still intending to stand down when his term runs out in October 2009, but will take the final decision in June of that year. When asked by the official F1 website about the qualities required of FIA president, he said "A great deal of patience and ideally an ability to understand quickly a great variety of technical and legal issues. I would advise a potential successor to think very carefully before standing for election." Mosley's close relationship with Ecclestone, the sport's promotor, was criticised in early 2009 by Jackie Stewart, who suggested that Mosley should resign in favour of a CEO from outside motorsport.


  • [a] Both were killed in racing accidents at the Zandvoort track; Lambert died in 1968 and Piers Courage was killed in 1970.
  • [b] March works teams returned to Formula One in 1981-1982 and 1988-1992 (as Leyton House Racing in 1990 and 1991).

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