FIA president Max Mosley has revealed that he is under pressure to stand for re-election from other members of the sports governing body, after admitting that he does not expect to receive the apology he demanded from Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) president Luca di Montezemolo on Thursday.
Mosley, speaking in an interview with the Mail on Sunday
newspaper, said that while he would rather stand down in October, he was prepared to do whatever was required in the face of a potential conflict with Formula 1's car manufacturers.
"They made the mistake of dancing on my grave before I was buried," Mosley told the newspaper. "It's no good the teams getting a PR agency to claim I am dead and buried when I am standing here as large as life. I am under pressure now from all over the world to stand for re-election.
"I don't actually want to," he added. "I feel I am a little bit too old. When I started I was old enough to be the father of the younger Formula 1 drivers; now I am old enough to be the grandfather of some of those driving today. Although I don't feel old, I must seem very old to them. It definitely needs somebody new from that point of view.
"Generally, when you have done something for 16 years, as I have done, it's about time to stop. You get a little bit stale.
"I do genuinely want to stop. But if there is going to be a big conflict with the car industry, for example, with the FOTA teams, then I won't stop. I will do whatever I have to do. It's not in my nature to walk away from a fight."
Mosley, F1 rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and di Montezemolo announced a deal to end the row over budget caps and bring the threat of a breakaway series in 2010 to a close last Wednesday. At the time, Mosley announced that he would not stand for re-election.
But press briefings by FOTA team principals the following day angered Mosley, who felt that they had suggested he had been forced from office and labeled him a "dictator." He was also annoyed by suggestions that Michel Boeri would assume his role in overseeing the FIA's F1 affairs until October. Mosley sent a letter to di Montezemolo demanding a public apology in Thursday's FOTA press conference, which was not forthcoming.
"I don't really expect Luca will apologize or withdraw in the way that he should," Mosley told the newspaper. "Yet, on the other hand, within the motorsport world nobody takes him seriously. He's seen as what the Italians call a bella figura
. He's chairman of Fiat, but the serious individual who runs it is Sergio Marchionne, and I don't suppose he takes much notice of Luca.
"When di Montezemolo comes out with things that are picked up internationally, when people in the UK, for example, read this, they tend to believe it," he added. "And when FOTA say all this nonsense about Boeri replacing me, that also tends to be believed. I think once we have all that put to bed and the teams come back to the deal we did, then I will be happy sticking with the deal we made. I am working on FIA matters from my office in Monaco. It is business as usual."
Mosley dismissed suggestions that he acted like a dicator as "nonsense," adding that decisions were taken by the World Motor Sport Council. He also revealed that he had privately made clear to them that he would stand down from office.
"Complete lies have been told," said Mosley. "That was obviously very annoying and not just for me. It has given the impression to the member clubs of the FIA that the car industry had dictated who the president could be and what the president should do. That caused uproar. Once a year we have a general assembly where all 132 countries belonging to the FIA endorse what has been done.
"If someone is unhappy with what has been done, they would say so and we'd have a vote. I don't have the power to dictate. I only have the power to execute the decisions that the WMSC have taken."
In the interview Mosley admitted that the past two years of his life had been very difficult. But he said that while the death of his son and last year's highly publicized sex scandal had taken their toll, he would not walk away from the FIA presidency while he perceived the organization's independence to be under threat.
"The past 16 months have been difficult," he admitted. "It is appalling if somebody takes some part of your life that you have always kept completely secret and puts it all over the front page of a newspaper. Yet, obviously, the death of my son was far worse. By comparison, my spats with di Montezemolo are trivial.
"However, I do not want to leave the president's office in a way where it was suggested that people from the car industry had pushed me out. If that impression is not completely dispelled, the clubs are going to insist that I stand again.
"So I hope very much that it will be dispelled before we get to that point. And when the time comes to hand all this to somebody else, it will not be with sadness, it will be with relief."