At Silverstone on Sunday, however, Mosley was back with his full arsenal of wit, charm, bullying, glib deprecation of his enemies and the political nous to be seen with the right people. He may have been talking and laughing while the minute's silence was held on the grid for the victims of the previous week's bomb outrages in London, but that was no fault of his, or of the sports minister, Richard Caborn, or the Leader of the House of Commons, Geoff Hoon, who were likewise caught out. In 1997 the authorities at Monza gave an object lesson in how to do such things, after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. At Silverstone the pre-race remembrance was the only aspect that did not go off smoothly: many spectators only learnt that it had started as it came to its end.
Later this week in Monaco, Mosley will meet Ron Dennis, of McLaren-Mercedes, and Christian Horner, of Red Bull-Cosworth. Mosley's meeting with selected media at Silverstone suggested that it would be futile for anyone to challenge him for office when the sport's governing body holds elections in October. Now, according to his information police, the rebels realise conciliation is the only way forward.
There is general if, in some cases, grudging agreement that a breakaway championship is a non-starter. All the parties acknowledge that when the Indianapolis chief executive, Tony George, broke with Championship Auto Racing Teams and set up the Indy Racing League, it killed single-seater racing in the United States and handed the sport's marketing cake to stock car racing.
The teams may also acknowledge that Mosley will not be displaced easily. In any case, many of his proposals for 2008 have incorporated things they have already suggested, such as a reduction in testing. This weekend there were the first signs of possible common ground and a willingness to discuss where a troubled sport can go next.
Where Jenson Button's BAR-Honda team must go next is to challenge the world championship leaders, Renault, according to their team principal, Nick Fry. BAR have underachieved this season since finishing second in last year's constructors' championship and have yet to register a podium finish.
"They are catchable," said Fry, who saw Button finish fifth on Sunday as Juan Pablo Montoya won for McLaren ahead of Renault's Fernando Alonso. "Renault are in our focus now. We've have pulled up a little bit. We will worry about Renault first and then we will worry about McLaren later.
He conceded: "To catch McLaren is going to be tough but the good thing about our team is that Honda and ourselves are completely determined to win. We do have the ability and the resources to keep developing the car until the last lap of the last race and develop next year's car with next year's engine at the same time.
"That is what we are going to do and we are not going to be giving up."Reuse content