Blog: Max Mosley scandal
Dave Leggett | 4 April 2008
This story is a weird one par excellence - ironies all over the shop. What a strange world we live in... and Formula One is frequently a particularly strange world. Max Mosley is someone for whom I have always had quite a bit of respect. Knows his stuff and comes across well (not sure about the state of F1, but let's not get into that). Erudite chap. I was on hols once in France and saw him on the telly conversing in French like a native (he speaks 98 languages). And FIA does very good works, too - it's not just about motorsport. It's big in telematics and safety. Mosley is an excellent front man and I've seen him in action - a true pro.
For the benefit of those that don't know.... his dad, Oswald, had major Nazi-type leanings back in the 1930s. He led a political movement in Britain that wasn't terribly keen on Jews, wore very dark coloured shirts and did straight-armed salutes. But that's all history isn't it?
So, here we are in 2008 and Oswald's son Max Mosley, now a highly respected public figure in motorsport, has apparently been caught with his proverbial trousers down in some sort of tabloid press set-up. The lurid tabloid press report says 'Nazi-style orgy' with prostitutes.
The German companies who are big in F1 are understandably not all that impressed with what they are reading/hearing. There has been a defiant statement from Mr Mosley. I think I'd have left out the whole 'given the history' bit if I was him:
"Given the history of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, particularly before and during the Second World War, I fully understand why they would wish to strongly distance themselves from what they rightly describe as the disgraceful content of these publications.
"Unfortunately they did not contact me before putting out their statement to ask whether the content was in fact true.
"No doubt the FIA will respond to them in due course, as I am about to respond to the newspaper in question."
I respect the guy and have sympathy with him over the invasion of his private life...but discretion is very, very important - especially for someone in his position and with his family history. What was a camera doing in there? He's going to come under some pressure.
Here's another thought I'll throw out there. After Max's alleged sticking up for Ferrari so much, maybe there are some interests out there who may have paid quite a bit of money for a set-up like this. It's a very big money sport with an, ahem, dirty side.
Thus far he seems to be blaming the newspaper for publishing the story as they have written it and is suggesting people are out to discredit him. He's not saying it never happened, he's saying that the Nazi connotations in the article are inaccurate and that there has been an illegal invasion of his privacy to which he, like everyone else, is entitled. Fair point. Trouble is, it's not private any longer.
"The offence seems to be not what I did but the fact that it became public," Max has said in a letter.
From what I can gather, that's not likely to be seen as a strong defence by everyone, though he is certain to have his supporters inside the FIA. The F1 car companies are clearly aghast/shocked at his reported behaviour being in the public domain and the consequential tarnishing of the image of the sport, rather than blaming the newspaper for the act of publishing (it's what such tabloids do - and you can see why they would have spiced it up with the Nazi angle, though the newspaper says this was a customised job for the vice gang and he ordered all that...obviously, it will continue to eke out this story for all it's worth...).
I wonder what Oswald would make of it all?
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