Max Mosley dead: Former F1 supremo dies aged 81

Bernie Ecclestone confirmed the news: ‘It’s losing family, like losing a brother’

Lawrence Ostlere
Monday 24 May 2021 19:30
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<p>Mosley oversaw safety reforms in Formula One while president of the FIA, the sport’s governing body</p>

Mosley oversaw safety reforms in Formula One while president of the FIA, the sport’s governing body

Max Mosley, the former Formula One supremo, has died aged 81. Mosley, who had been suffering from cancer, was president of the international racing federation (FIA) serving three terms from 1993 until 2009.

Bernie Ecclestone, the former F1 CEO and business partner to Mosley, confirmed the news to BBC Sport. “It’s like losing family, like losing a brother, Max and I,” he said. “He did a lot of good things not just for motorsport, also the [car] industry. He was very good in making sure people built cars that were safe.”

Mosley, who was born in London on April 13 1940, was the son of 1930s British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley. In 2008 he won a privacy case against the News of the World newspaper after it printed photographs and published video of his involvement in a sadomasochistic sex session.

It was reported by the newspaper as a “sick Nazi orgy”, but Justice Eady found no evidence of Nazi themes in his judgement. He also said there was no public interest defence in the clandestine recording of the session. Since then, Mosley had campaigned for tougher regulation of the press.

He experienced a family tragedy in 2009 when his son Alexander died aged 39. The coroner ruled Alexander’s death was due to non-dependent drug abuse.

Mosley senior studied at Oxford University, where he read physics, but later trained as a lawyer and became a barrister whose specialism was patent and trademark law. His love of motor racing began in his youth and he was involved in Formula 2 for Brabham and Lotus before retiring in 1969.

He founded a car manufacturing company, March Engineering, and oversaw its legal and commercial affairs from 1969 to 1977. He became the official legal advisor to the Formula One Constructors’ Association (FOCA) in the mid-70s, and helped draw up a peace agreement between it and FISA, F1’s governing body at the time.

He became FISA president in 1991 and two years later took over unopposed at the FIA, where oversaw the safety reforms in the sport which followed the death of Ayrton Senna at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. Jean Todt replaced him as FIA president in 2009.

The Williams Racing team were one of the first to pay tribute, tweeting from their official account: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of former FIA president, Max Mosley. Our condolences go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Additional reporting by PA

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