Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One's ringmaster, says that he had no doubt that Max Mosley would win Tuesday's FIA vote of confidence, but still believes that his longtime friend should stand down.
"I knew he would win," Ecclestone said yesterday. "There was no way he could lose. But I still don't think it's good for him, or for the FIA, to be honest. He said he wanted to finish at the end of 2007, and then the end of this year, before all this happened.
"Max should stand down in November. For me it's a difficult situation because I run the Formula One Group of companies, and the teams – the manufacturers – are violently opposed to him. But 62 per cent of the automobile clubs that make up the FIA voted to retain him.
"Max has always ruled by fear. But I think more people will be likely to take him on after this."
Ecclestone believes that Mosley, far from standing down when his term of office ends in October 2009, will seek re-election.
"I've always said that Max will be the president until he dies. What many people don't understand is that he enjoys confrontation. He likes argument! These things stimulate him."
Ecclestone's commercial rights-holding partner, CVC, have maintained a diplomatic silence. But he has always supported Mosley personally yet never refrained from expressing his own opinion even if it has been critical of his friend. He said: "What highlights the problems he may still face is what happened in Monaco. Prince Albert made it very clear that he did not want him on the grid, and that he would have security around him so that if Max did appear they could not be seen together.
"But I have no doubt that Max will be able to deal with all that."
Ecclestone says he would like to see Formula One enjoy "a little peace".
FOG want to extend the Concorde Agreement, the document by which the sport is run. Mosley, who is in the charge of the governing body which regulates world motorsport, does not.
"We want Max's signature on a new document. He doesn't want to do that because he feels he has more power if he doesn't sign. But he doesn't need more power. The big manufacturers know just how much they want to spend, to be competitive. We just need to write the regulation to achieve that, and move forwards."