Left field

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Who should replace Mosley if he does go?

June 26, 2009

I asked Max Mosley at a lunch before the start of the Formula One season whether there was anyone masochistic enough to want to take on his job. He laughed.

“Maybe that’s the qualification, that you’ve got to be into that little world…” the FIA president chuckled.

It had looked definite that he was retiring in October after a deal with teams to avert a breakaway series on Wednesday but he has since said he is annoyed by comments by the teams to the media and suggested that he could rethink his decision to stand down.

If he does leave, one suspects the members of the Paris-based International Automobile Federation are likely to choose somebody rather more straitlaced than Mosley, even if they did give him a resounding vote of confidence after his involvement in a sado-masochistic sex scandal last year.

Who that might be is the big question in motorsport circles, at least outside of America.

Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt has been touted, although he would not be particularly palatable to the teams who want someone completely independent to oversee their sport.

Finland’s former rally world champion Ari Vatanen is another name — there is an “Ari Vatanen for FIA president” page on facebook.com — while Monaco automobile club president Michel Boeri is chairman of the FIA senate and effectively Mosley’s current deputy.

There were even rumours, way out on the fringes of plausibility, earlier this year that former RBS chief executive Fred Goodwin could be lined up for the post despite his previous employers announcing the biggest loss in British corporate history.

Formula One is only a part of the job, for which the independently-wealthy Mosley has taken no salary and which includes relations with governments and the auto industry as well as governing various championships.

“The difficulty is finding somebody who has the necessary experience, but also the time and inclination to do the job,” the 69-year-old Briton said in December. “I would advise a potential successor to think very carefully before standing for election.”

Anyone come to mind?

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