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Motor Racing

Mosley threatens Fota and demands apology

Just when it appeared that peace had finally broken out in Formula One, FIA president Max Mosley stormed back into the arena yesterday with a threat to Formula One Teams' Association and the Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo to reconsider his position after what he sees as "deliberate attempts" by Fota to present a misleading interpretation of events.

Doubtless stung by the assessment of Wednesday's peace initiative as a defeat for him, and by Di Montezemolo calling him a "dictator" to the Italian media, Mosley has written to Di Montezemolo, denouncing his tactics and indicating that he may yet rethink his intention to stand down in October.

"Given your and Fota's deliberate attempt to mislead the media, I now consider my options open," Mosley said in the leaked letter. "At least until October, I am president of the FIA with the full authority of that office.

"After that it is the FIA member clubs, not you or Fota, who will decide on the future leadership of the FIA."

He also threatened that Wednesday's peace deal could be negated if Di Montezemolo did not apologise at a press conference in the Italian city of Bologna yesterday, which followed Fota's latest meeting.

"You must correct the false statements which have been made and make no further such statements. You yourself must issue a suitable correction and apology at your press conference this afternoon," demanded Mosley. No such apology was forthcoming.

"Furthermore, you have suggested to the media that I was a 'dictator', an accusation which is grossly insulting to the 26 members of the World Motor Sport Council who have discussed and voted all the rules and procedures of Formula One since the 1980s, not to mention the representatives of the FIA's 122 countries who have democratically endorsed everything I and my World Motor Sport Council colleagues have done during the last 18 years."

It remains to be seen whether this is the final thrashing of a wounded beast, or that Mosley intends to ride roughshod over Wednesday's peace initiative to salve his bruised ego.