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Max Mosley breaks his silence

ESPNF1 Staff
December 13, 2009 « Driver announcements by Twitter | »

When Max Mosley left office as FIA president he warned the Formula One community to "have their lawyers on standby" as his biography would cause fireworks. Now he has broken his silence in an exclusive interview in The Sunday Telegraph.

Although he barely scratches the surface of the scandals and intrigue that took place during his 16-year term in charge of the sport's governing body, if this is a sign of things to come it looks like Mosley will be keeping those lawyers busy.

In the article he rejects the accusations that his term as president was a dictatorship, highlighting the fact that he was in favour of a much harsher ban for McLaren over spygate.

"The only safe thing would have been to exclude them [McLaren] from 2007 immediately and also from the 2008 championship," he said. "But with little or no income for 18 months and over 1,000 employees, their situation would have been dire. A ban would also have destroyed the great championship battle which was going on between Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

"I was for a ban. I understood the consequences but I believe in the old legal maxim 'hard cases make bad law'. But I was outvoted (so much for the accusations of dictatorship) and the council went for a very large [$100 million] fine instead. McLaren did not appeal."

One issue he skirts over are the high-profile revelations about his private life. "When Formula One confronted a real problem [Spygate] just over a year later I was less well placed to deal with it. And my situation was worsened by revelations about my private life, notwithstanding a big vote of confidence by the FIA and successful litigation against the newspaper responsible."

He also covered the ongoing issue of Flavio Briatore's lifetime ban for his role in Crashgate. Briatore has branded the world motorsport council hearing in September "a sham" and accused Mosley of being "blinded by a desire for personal revenge".

He covers the teams' constant threat to form a breakaway series, the formation of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), and the thorny issues of cost cutting and the exodus of manufacturers from the sport.