The beleaguered FIA president Max Mosley might have made a bold appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend, but yesterday there were further indications of the mounting pressure on him to resign before the Extraordinary General Meeting's vote of confidence in Paris next Tuesday.
As tensions continued to increase yesterday, 24 member clubs of the FIA, representing 22 different countries (there are two each from the United States and Spain), put their signatures to a letter which Mosley received on Wednesday calling upon him to stand down.
"We strongly believe that the only respectable way forward for the FIA, and for yourself, is to have an orderly transition, with an immediate agreement and your commitment to step down," said the letter, which was signed by representatives from America, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore, Spain and Switzerland. "The FIA is in a critical situation. Its image, reputation and credibility are being severely eroded. Every additional day that this situation persists, the damage increases. There is no way back."
The clubs also expressed disappointment that Mosley had refused the offer of a compromise deal which would involve him being guaranteed victory in next week's vote provided that he agreed to step down later this year.
"We deeply regret your refusal to accept the proposal by the members of the World Council for Automobile Mobility and Tourism to reach an agreement for you to step down at the General Assembly in the coming month of November," the letter continued. "This is a constructive effort to facilitate an orderly transition within the FIA and to find a solution to the present crisis.
"Instead, your intention to remain until the end of your term in 2009, in spite of the severe damage being inflicted to the FIA, could imply putting personal considerations before the interests of the FIA and its member clubs."
Perhaps even more tellingly, the clubs rejected Mosley's sabre-rattling in his recent letter to their presidents in which he expressed the fear that the FIA could lose control of F1 if he is forced out of office.
The feeling in the paddock in Monaco was that Mosley will get the mandate he requires to continue until at least October 2009. The letter, though, while highlighting the tensions that now exist between all of the various factions, is also seen as a rallying call to the smaller clubs, upon which Mosley is relying for support, to draw courage from the dissatisfaction of the bigger clubs and vote against him next Tuesday.