Leading German car manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and BMW issued a statement on Thursday slamming the alleged recent lurid behaviour of world motorsport governing body (FIA) president Max Mosley as ”disgraceful”.
Both companies, with teams in Formula One set to take part in this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, distanced themselves from the revelations about Mosley’s private life as revealed by British Sunday newspaper the News of the World last weekend.
And they were backed swiftly by Japanese outfits Toyota and Honda, who joined the two German car-builders in requesting swift action by the FIA concerning Briton Mosley’s future role with the sport’s governing body.
The News of the World claimed Mosley was involved in a ”Nazi sex orgy” with prostitutes in London last week.
The statements made by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Toyota are the first official reactions by any Formula One teams since the revelations were made last Sunday.
Mosley reacted to their criticisms by saying he understood the statements from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but suggested that they had criticised him in haste and without contacting him first.
”Given the history of BMW and Mercedes Benz, particularly before and during the World War II, I fully understand why they would wish to strongly distance themselves from what they rightly describe as the disgraceful content of these publications.
”Unfortunately, they did not contact me before putting out their statement to ask whether the content was in fact true,” he said. ”No doubt, the FIA will respond to them in due course, as I am about to respond to the newspaper in question.”
Mosley has indicated that he is preparing legal action against the News of the World for invasion of privacy over the report in last Sunday’s newspaper.
In their joint statement, BMW and Mercedes-Benz said: ”The content of the publications is disgraceful. As companies, we strongly distance ourselves from it.
”This incident concerns Max Mosley both personally and as president of the FIA, the global umbrella organisation for motoring clubs. Its consequences therefore extend far beyond the motorsport industry. We await a response from the relevant FIA bodies.”
Mosley wrote to the FIA apologising for any embarrassment caused by the News of the World story, but emphasised that he intends to carry on in his role with motor racing’s governing body.
Mosley has cancelled a planned visit to this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Toyota, in its statement, urged the FIA to consider whether Mosley met with the ”moral obligations” of his role.
”Toyota Motorsport does not approve of any behaviour which could be seen to damage Formula One’s image, in particular any behaviour which could be understood to be racist or anti-Semitic,” said the statement.
”Senior figures within any sport or business, including motorsport, must adhere to high standards of behaviour. When all the facts are known, it will be for the FIA to decide whether Mr Mosley has met the moral obligations which come with the position of FIA President.”
Honda Racing said: ”It is necessary that senior figures in sport and business maintain the highest standards of conduct in order to fulfil their duties with integrity and respect.
”The Honda Racing F1 Team is extremely disappointed by recent events surrounding Mr Mosley and we are concerned that the reputation of Formula One and all its participants is being damaged.
”We request that the FIA gives this matter careful consideration and reaches an immediate decision in the best interests of F1 and Motorsport.” — AFP