Mosely: Todt too non-confrontational, sex scandal prevented cost-cap success

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Former FIA president Max Mosley has weighed in on the current state of negotiations between the governing body, the Formula One teams and the commercial rights holder, CVC (Formula One Management). A meeting scheduled in Paris this month is to be held to discuss the lingering issues on the new Concorde Agreement and one fo he sticking points is const control. No surprise there as this issue has been around for a few years and only become exacerbated as the economy continues to sink. Mosley has offered his thoughts on current FIA president, Jean Todt. He believes Todt is being too reluctant to confront the teams and is favoring consensus:

“He’s got a completely different style. How effective it is, you can’t really tell,” Mosley told Sky Sports F1.

“He’s still in his first mandate. I think he will go on, but he’s working from nine in the morning to nine at night. It’s much harder than it looks from the outside.

“If he goes on, then we’ll start to see. At the moment maybe he’s a little bit too reluctant to confront. He seeks consensus. It’s good to have consensus but sometimes you’ve got to get them to just do something.

“Back in 2003 when the teams would not agree about costs, I just said ‘we’re just going to stop the qualifying engines and qualifying cars and we’re going to have a parc ferme at six o’clock [on Saturdays].’

“The teams went berserk, but it was the right thing to do and now people agree about not having qualifying cars and engines.

“Sometimes you’ve got to be a bit confrontational.”

The discussions over cost-cutting in F1 have grown to a soaring crescendo as the small teams are struggling to compete with the big teams (the old adage that F1 is full of the “haves” and the “have yachts”) and with the looming new engine rules, the costs are sure to rise amounting to 40% of their operating budget (according to HRT). The teams had formed the Formula One Teams Association in an effort to operate on their best interests agains the FIA and FOM and they even instituted a Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) which was to control the costs but this too has waned in power as Ferrari, Sauber, Toro Rosso and Red Bull have all pulled out of FOTA. How doe sMax feel about FOTA?

“The thing is the teams are competing with each other and I don’t see how they will ever get together in the common interest,” Mosely said.

“That’s the function of the governing body. It should be the governing body, for example, that imposes the Resource Restriction Agreement. Are you [as a team] actually going to sue Red Bull if you think they’ve spent too much?”

Mosley still believes he could have implemented his original cost cap programme had newspaper revelations about his private life not interfered. He said Ferrari was the only team blocking the proposal at the time.

“[The budget cap] would’ve worked. It would’ve been completely feasible. What stopped it was I couldn’t push it through.

“I ought to have been able to say to Ferrari, ‘you can enter or not enter, but these are rules’. But I couldn’t do that because when I had that problem with the newspaper, the two teams that stood by me were Williams and Ferrari.

“So it sort of went into the long grass and by 2009 some of the richer teams had seen that if you were a rich team and the other seven or nine were poor, you had less competition.”

One of the more intesrting comments was Mosley’s assertion that the cost-caps would have worked had he not been involved in teh sex scandal back in 2009. His challenge was actually in the enforcing of the regulations that he had devised to cut costs because he couldn’t demand it from a team that supported him during the scandal. The obvious twist was that Jean Todt was the head of Ferrari’s F1 team and did support Mosley but he was also gunning for his job at the FIA.

“[The budget cap] would’ve worked,” Mosley said. “It would’ve been completely feasible. What stopped it was I couldn’t push it through. I ought to have been able to say to Ferrari, ‘you can enter or not enter, but these are rules’. But I couldn’t do that because when I had that problem with the newspaper, the two teams that stood by me were Williams and Ferrari.

“So it sort of went into the long grass and by 2009 some of the richer teams had seen that if you were a rich team and the other seven or nine were poor, you had less competition.”

Is Todt too consensus-oriented? He has been very quiet publicly since taking office at the FIA and while there is little doubt he is toiling away at things, he’s not the press hound Mosley is and perhaps that’s for the better. IF memory serves, Todt has rarely taken FIA vs. team issues public unlike Mosley but in the end, Mosley may be right as Ecclestone has said before, F1 needs a dictator sometimes and you’ll never reach full consensus among all the teams.

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