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Max Mosley’s press conference in full 03 Jul 2004

The retiring Max Mosley (GBR) FIA President  gives a press conference.
French Grand Prix, Rd 10, Practice, Magny Cours, France, 2 July 2004

FIA President Max Mosley speaks to the press in Magny-Cours about the dramas at the last round at Indianapolis, about the future of Formula One racing, and about his decision to quit the post at the end of this season:

Good afternoon everybody, thank you so much for coming. It’s very pleasing to see so many of the press here and thank you for being here.

What I would like to do if you would allow me is to …. Four topics before inviting questions. They are the two incidents in Indianapolis which I think need a little bit of discussion, and the question of the rules for the Formula One in the future and then finally my imminent departure from the FIA. So those four topics.

If I could begin just briefly with the Ralf Schumacher accident at Indianapolis. I think there was a lot of misunderstanding among the media because he was there, in the car, not moving for rather more than one and a half minutes and this was widely criticised. It’s important to understand why that happened, and if you will allow me a little bit of medical explanation – not being a doctor but nevertheless - the situation is this. If in the worst case, a driver is dead in the sense that his heart has stopped and he’s not breathing, provided you can get a reanimation expert or resuscitation expert to him within two minutes, it’s possible to start the heart again and get the circulation going and keep him sufficiently alive to go on a life support machine when you get him to hospital without him suffering irreversible brain damage. You then decide what to do.

Now, after two minutes, taking into account the time for resuscitation, irreversible brain damage can occur and shortly after that, death. Now this particular situation doesn’t occur in everyday life. If you have a serious accident and somebody’s heart has stopped and he’s not breathing, the chance of somebody being anywhere near him who can resuscitate him unless he’s in a hospital, is minimal. So it doesn’t really arise in road accidents.

In Formula One, for some considerable time, we’ve had a system in place where we arrange the medical cars around the circuit in such a way that within two minutes there is always a resuscitation expert there so we can always get the circulation going sufficiently to get him on a life support system without irreversible brain damage and that’s existed for a number of years, as I say.

So the first thing is that we must have that man there within two minutes. The second thing is that everyone’s instinct, particularly if you see somebody motionless in a car, is to rush in and try and help him. In fact it’s the most dangerous thing you can do. If he’s got a broken neck or a broken spine, the one thing you don’t want is an enthusiastic amateur trying to help, above all, not trying to get the helmet off. It doesn’t matter if it takes one and a half, two minutes to get somebody there because even if he has stopped breathing, you can still fix it.

What does matter is if the wrong person does the wrong thing. So therefore there is this absolutely strict instruction: leave him alone, wait until the experts get there, they will be there within two minutes. That is the time. Don’t get involved. So that’s what we say to the marshals.

Now you will have noticed at Indianapolis there were marshals the other side of the pit wall. There is one circumstance in which all of those precautions are forgotten and that is if the car catches fire. Obviously then if somebody is motionless in a car, you must get him out of the car because it’s on fire, you must take whatever risk you have to take. But nowadays, we very much hope that we don’t get cars catching fire. If they do catch fire, then obviously we would have to act.

Final point on that: the marshals were there, why didn’t they go to him? There was nothing they could do because they were instructed not to touch him. All that would happen is that there is still a small risk, however hard we try, that another car crashes into the car that is stationary. In that case, the two drivers are at risk, but it would be completely stupid to allow marshals also to be at risk, bearing in mind that they can’t do anything, they are not allowed to do anything. They would simply be standing there risking their lives to no purpose.

So the procedure with Ralf Schumacher… it looks terrible because you feel instinctively I must get in there, I must do something but in fact exactly the right procedures were followed and as it happens, he was hurt but he wasn’t seriously hurt but had he been, all the right things were done.

So that was Ralf Schumacher. I just wanted to make that clear because it didn’t look right but it was right.

Montoya. I’ve got enormous sympathy for Montoya and I think the press were right when they say it’s terrible that he did so many laps and was then excluded. However, when… the rule, rightly or wrongly, but it’s a rule that all the teams wanted and agreed, if he leaves the grid after the 15 seconds, before the cars depart, he’s broken the rule and can’t take part in the race.

In fact the amount of time involved was three seconds. We knew it was very marginal, therefore our people had to get every possible piece of information: videos, timing sheets, witness statements and so on. Get all that information together to be quite certain that he really did infringe the rule by, as it turns out, three seconds.

Now, had we not done a thorough job, and had somebody for example, come with a video after he’d been excluded immediately and demonstrated that he was within the rule, it would have been a terrible situation for everybody, because it’s like executing somebody, you can’t un-execute them. Once you’ve put him out of the race, he’s out, so you must not put somebody out of the race unless you are absolutely certain.

They had to gather all the evidence. When they’d gathered all the evidence, they then had to give it to the stewards, the stewards had to satisfy themselves that the evidence did indeed prove beyond any doubt, that which it appeared to prove, namely that he was three seconds outside the time and they were able to take action and do the necessary.

Now that evidence had to be gathered while there were three significant on-track emergencies and as far as I’m concerned I would far rather that the driver goes around a few more laps than is necessary, because they do that all the time anyway in testing and so on, than to exclude someone from a race and later learn that he shouldn’t have been excluded from the race. That would be very very unfortunate and indeed we would never hear the end of it, and quite rightly we wouldn’t hear the end of it.

So that’s the Montoya incident, but again, forgive me for the explanations but it’s very important that everyone understands that it’s not quite as unfortunate as it looks.

My third point is the rules. Now there has been endless discussion, endless confusion but we’ve now reached a point where on Tuesday next, Tuesday the sixth of July, Charlie Whiting is going, on behalf of the World Motorsport Council, to give formal notice to the technical working group under the terms of article 7.5 of the Concorde Agreement that they must produce proposals for slowing the cars. The decision to do that was taken by the World Motorsport Council on the 30th of June, and it was taken unanimously, and it was taken on the basis of evidence that I think some of you have seen and a lot of more evidence that the speed of the cars is now dangerously fast. We cannot afford to continue to take this risk.

Now if we follow the procedures of the Concorde Agreement, the technical working group have two months in which to produce proposals to slow the cars. We then have to decide whether we think those proposals are adequate. If we think they are not, we can ourselves give the teams three alternative, three different proposals or packages of proposals from which they must chose one.

If, within 45 days – sorry this is a bit tedious but it’s important – if within 45 days they have not chosen one of those packages, we can then impose a set of measures and those measures come into force automatically within… they must not come in before three months, but any moment after three months they come into force. That means that, if we follow the whole procedure through, and they would know… and they were unable to produce something, they would know what we were doing, third week of October and it would come into force towards the end of January.

Now of course if they produce a satisfactory proposal within the next two months, that would be quicker. I think the chance of them producing a proposal is remote because there are ten teams, all the technical directors of the teams constitute the technical working group, and those ten people have to agree by a majority of at least eight votes, so eight to one, or to eight to two, before anything can come in, it has to be an eighty per cent majority.

So what we are going to do is, in order to help them perhaps, we are going to furnish them within two weeks with a precise set of regulations covering three topics, which I will outline in a moment, which they may chose to adopt, but which they will then know that if they don’t produce something, will be the measures that in all probability we will adopt - in fact more than in all probability, that we would adopt.

Now those measures which are going to be precise will cover the three main areas that cause the cars to go faster and these are, in no particular order: aerodynamics, engines and tyres.

The tyre regulation that we will suggest will drastically reduce the number of tyres available per weekend and what is being talked about at the moment is two sets of tyres, one for Friday and Saturday, and another set for qualifying and the race, with the original set as a back-up, with two types or tyres to take account of the possibility that a team couldn’t work on a particular set of tyres.

The second area, the engines: in 2005, we will require engines to do two races, two weekends between rebuilds, in order to reduce the power slightly from what it is now and we feel that is as far as we can go on the engines for 2005.

In 2006 we will require them to drop the capacity of the engine from 3.0 litres to 2.4. It will be a V8, it will be more restricted than the restrictions proposed by all seven engine manufacturers. These are restrictions on dimensions and on various… centre lines of the crankshaft, things of that kind with the engine, restrictions on materials. These have already been proposed. We will go further than that but not quite as far as the ultimate version of the restrictions set out in the note I sent to the teams and which some of you have seen. But there will be very serious restrictions on what can be done to the engines. This will keep the power and the power escalation under control. It will have an incidental helpful side effect of significantly reducing the costs of working on these engines.

In addition to that, we will then have to confront the difficulty: what happens to those teams which either do not have a 2.4 V8 for 2006 because they are not aligned to a manufacturer, or even perhaps a manufacturer can’t get an engine ready in time. Well what we will do there is we will reduce… we will allow them to continue to run a three litre V10 but with a rev limiter, and the rev limit will be set at a level which will ensure that the engine is less powerful – but not much less powerful - than the 2.4s which those organisations which can build them have built.

This will have the incidental benefit of allowing those teams which currently have to… which currently are perhaps rather near the back of the grid, having a significantly smaller power deficit against the cars at the front of the grid than they currently have because we would simply be able to adjust the rev limit. That is what we will do. So everybody will have a choice. You can build a 2.4 according to those regulations, do the best you can, get the most power you can, that is your engine.

Or if you can’t or won’t do that, you can run with a V10 but it will be one for which we set a rev limit and we will worry about the rev limit when we have more information about the power output and above all the power curve of the 2.4 V8. So that is the measure that we will be taking on the engines to reduce the performance of the cars, as I said at the beginning, for safety reasons.

The third element, the aerodynamics: there will be a significant package of aerodynamic measures already for 2005 and these will… I won’t go into the detail because it’s still be worked on. Charlie will explain some of it to the teams, but they will have precise detailed regulations for those aerodynamics, for the engines and also of course, the sporting rules for the tyres, available to them within the next two weeks which they may or may not adopt, but they can be reasonably sure that if they don’t come up with something better themselves, then those will be the regulations we will adopt.

It may be that some of the teams will prefer simply to follow those regulations we published on the grounds that that is certain and they know what they are doing and they’ve got time to do everything. Others may prefer to campaign for other regulations but if they do, they are going to have to get eight out of the ten teams to agree with them, something which is not immediately easy to do.

We also will bring in a standard ECU as soon as we can. We would like to do that at the beginning of the 2.4 engine. That will not… it may not be possible. The reason for that is that although the electronics experts all agree that they could produce something which would keep the… give us the assurance that there was no cheating, no traction control, nothing of that kind. In truth, I think it’s almost impossible to convince the public and or even the press, to convince you, that nobody is doing something they shouldn’t and to convince the wider public is not possible. We’ve always said that unless we can be absolutely certain we can demonstrate to the public beyond any doubt there is no cheating, we don’t go along with the system. Because we’ve learned the lesson last time when we had no traction control, constantly the rumours in the paddock were that there was traction control, and then of course in the event it turned out that there wasn’t. When we opened up the freedom to the teams, none of the systems worked, so what chance that they were working when they were illegal if they wouldn’t work when they were legal? But of course everybody thought they were. It made a bad atmosphere in the paddock and we don’t want that happening again.

But the standard ECU is something for the future, it is not part of the package of safety measures which I have just outlined. So that, briefly in outline, is what we’re going to do. There are certain other elements to do with the engines. For example, it is our intention also to keep the power under control in 2006, to require the engines to use bio-fuels, that’s to say fuels that are carbon neutral and various other details of that kind, but nevertheless significant in all of these measure to keep the power under control.

Final point on the engines is that you may find some people saying: shouldn’t interfere with the engines, it should all be the aerodynamics. Well there have been eight meetings of the technical working group over the last two years in which they’ve repeatedly said… in which each time they’ve said, we need to keep the power down, the only way we can keep the car performance under control is to reduce the power and so this we are now going to do. We have to do it, it’s our duty to do it, it’s our duty to act before somebody gets seriously hurt or killed. And at the moment, the risks, in our opinion, are entirely unacceptably high.

So that was the third point; sorry it was rather long, about the engines.

Fourth point: about me. As you all know, I’m going to step down in October. There is nothing particularly significant about this. I haven’t got some amazing new job lined up and happily, as far as I know, I’m perfectly healthy.

It’s just that I’ve got to the point now where I no longer find it interesting or satisfying to sit in long meetings, particularly with the Formula One teams and the World Rally Championship teams, where people often agree things and then they go away after the meeting and change their mind completely. It means you’ve wasted a day. Sometimes one says to oneself, isn’t it actually probably more fun to sit on the beach with an interesting book than to sit here having these discussions?

And some of the discussions are really tedious. I won’t bore you with endless accounts but to give you one example. There’s one Formula One team principal - I won’t embarrass anybody by giving a name – but let’s just say that he’s not perhaps the sharpest knife in the box, and he brings with him a manager, a manager person who comes with him to give him a little bit of weight. And the manager person is a detail man. The problem is it’s always the wrong detail, so you have these interminable discussions about completely irrelevant minutiae when you’re trying to get on with something serious.

At a certain point, that begins to pall particularly if you’re really doing it because it interests you. It’s not a paid job, it’s a job that’s done out of interest and this repeats itself to some extent. It’s not as bad in the rallies, it repeats itself there. And then you get to the stage where you’ve really had enough of that and so you think, well, maybe the time has come to hand over to somebody else, or for somebody else to take the job. Above all, you shouldn’t stay in a job if it doesn’t really fascinate you, that is as important as the FIA. And it is a very important job, it’s become very important.

From my own point of view, I’ve achieved within the job everything really I’ve set out to achieve, and I’m very grateful to the people who have helped me doing that, and to a large extent, that’s also been the press, I have to say that, and I’m grateful for this.

The thing is that – just to give you a few little examples - for 55 years, people have been trying to unite the FIA and the AIT. The AIT is a world motoring body that was always a sort of rival to the FIA. That has now been achieved.

We have become significant players in Brussels. We have a forum that is a very significant political body to do with everyday road cars. We have a foundation with an endowment of over $300m thanks to Bernie for the Formula One money. The money from that gets spent half on motor sport safety, half on road safety generally. That is a very satisfying thing, seeing that happen.

On the road safety, it’s had a huge effect, it has become a world organisation and the effect it’s had in motor sport is less obvious but nevertheless it’s there and it’s very significant. In addition to that, with the support of the FIA, I was able to start and preside over the Euro NCAP organisation for eight years. I stepped down from that a few weeks ago because I thought the time had come for someone else to have it. I’ve also been able to preside for three years over ERTICO – Intelligent Transport Systems Europe – which brings together all the governments and attempts to use electronics to improve mobility and safety on the roads.

All of these things have been very satisfying, very satisfactory. You really have a sense that things have moved, you’ve achieved something but all that is really left now and unless I wanted to go on into my late sixties, seventies and so on, like some people do in these international federations but I feel is wrong, unless I want to do that, if I was going to step down in 2005, which would be natural thing to do, all really I’ve got is another year of fairly routine, mundane things.

I’ve got one final thing I have to do and this is push through these changes to Formula One which I’ve just explained. That process will be set in motion, as I’ve already mentioned, next Tuesday and once set in motion, and once the rules are set down, it will all simply follow automatically, it will all just happen, for all practical purposes, it’s done.

So I feel my task is done and I feel, as I say, a sense of satisfaction. I’m very grateful to everybody who’s helped. As I say, I’m very grateful to the press for everything they’ve done and for the support I’ve had from many of you and criticism from time to time, often justified, I say often justified.

But I think the time has come. And one final element on that is that within the FIA I’ve had a quite extraordinary level of and I’m very grateful to them for it, a huge number of people saying ‘don’t go, it’s fine, please just stay on.’ But I think it’s exactly at that moment that you should go. It’s when they start saying ‘maybe it’s about time the old boy went’ which they have in other organisations, then it’s already too late. It’s the moment and I’ve seized it. So thank you very much for listening. I’m sorry that was so long. Anybody wants to ask a question, I’ll be delighted to answer it.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Alan Henry – The Guardian) Max could I ask you when you actually made the decision?
MM:
Yes I started thinking seriously about a year ago. Obviously you can’t stop immediately after…two years is the minimum if you are elected for four years. I started thinking about it a year ago, I decided in the spring time this year that 2005 would be it, I wouldn’t stand again although there had been some suggestion that I might. Then in the last four weeks, I thought once I have done the AIT thing if I can find a way of doing the Formula One then I should stop and the real decision was made about three weeks ago.

Q: (Peter Windsor – Speed Channel) Max can I ask a couple of questions….in fact about four questions? Point well taken about the 120 seconds and the resuscitation. But as I understand it, and this may be wrong, it took the A&E car, the Accident & Emergency car, one minute 39 seconds to get to Ralf, which left 21 seconds to do something. Are you comfortable with that amount of time or was there something wrong there?
MM:
Slight misunderstanding. The car has to get there within two minutes. You’ve got to get his circulation within three to four minutes, but the magic period for us is two minutes. So if you take a long circuit like Spa in the worst possible conditions you’ve got to locate your cars so that in no more than two minutes the doctors, the resuscitation doctor is there. So we were 21 seconds to the good in fact.
Q: So that was as planned? You were comfortable with that?
MM:
Yes.

Q: (Peter Windsor) Were you comfortable with not stopping the race when Ralf had his accident? A couple of the doctors have said having cars go past a reasonably high-speed, Grand Prix drivers not have much feel for slow speeds was not a good thing…
MM:
A couple of doctors I mean…I think one or two of the American doctors said things, for example the cars were not deployed in time – of course they were deployed instantly. And then I have to say on the American doctors I find it surprising that having taken Ralf Schumacher to hospital, which is a very famous one, examined him thoroughly, it is not until he gets back to Germany that he discovers he has two fractures of the spine.

Q: (Peter Windsor) The Juan Pablo Montoya incident you’ve explained accurately, but why was no information put on the screens earlier to say that he was under investigation, maybe from lap two or three onwards so we at least had some idea that this was going on?
MM:
The answer is because that only goes on the screen once the matter goes to the stewards. Had all the evidence been gathered and had it been clear that he was within the time it wouldn’t have gone to the stewards. It only goes to the stewards once Charlie (Whiting) is satisfied that there is something wrong. That is the moment when it appears on screens. The investigation starts, in fact as far as we are concerned, when it goes to the stewards otherwise every time Charlie was thinking about something you would have to put it up on screen, which would obviously be a nonsense.

Q: (Peter Windsor) And finally why have the regulation changes to qualifying not taking place from Silverstone onwards?
MM:
Because there were not 18 votes in the Formula One Commission in favour of doing so. There were two conditions to get that done. One was the teams had to be unanimously in favour and there was a piece of paper with all the teams signatures on it, then it goes to the Formula One Commission because what the Concorde Agreement actually says is that the FIA can change the regulations if the teams are unanimously agreed. Well, assuming they were unanimously agreed it goes to the Formula One Commission but the Formula One Commission requires 18 out of 26 votes to carry something and as I recall it was about 12. It was not 18 therefore it didn’t go through.

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speed Sport News) You say that the people in the FIA want you to say, there is a lot of in this paddock and press room that would like you to stay. Is there anything that would make you change your mind?
MM:
You are very, very kind and I much appreciate that. I am not a Formula One team principal so I don’t change my mind every few minutes.

Q: (Matt Bishop – F1 Racing) Max bearing in mind the seriousness of the Ralf Schumacher accident and for that matter of the Felipe Massa accident a week before, could you outline for us the procedure via which Ralf will be declared fit by the FIA to race again in Formula One…
MM:
Yes. First of all thank you for reminding me about Massa because although those accidents are not evidence we are relying on for the safety measures we are about to introduce, they are nevertheless indicators. The Felipe Massa accident was a 113g, which is absolutely enormous, and had he not had all the latest gear on including the HANS system, the accident data recorder indicates that he would have hit the steering wheel with a force about 80 percent greater than we believe to be the borderline for injury. In the case of Ralf Schumacher it was 78g which is still an enormous impact. The answer to your actual question is that he would first of all obviously be examined by his own doctors and passed fit. He would then have to be examined by the FIA doctors and everything being equal that is Sid Watkins makes sure he is alright. There is never contention about that, the doctors always seem to agree when the moment has come.

Q: (James Allen - ITV) Max you spelled out how the process will go along in terms of the Technical Working Group and all the rest of it over a period of time. If they come up with some proposals, who and how will it be decided whether those proposals, to use your terms, good enough?
MM:
It is decided by the FIA in the sense of the…not the Formula One Commission and the usual processes. It is the FIA itself, what that would mean in effect would be that our technical people, our Formula One technical people, and we would obviously then put a vote to World Council because they are the ultimate arbiters. But I think the chance of the teams agreeing on measure where eight of them are prepared to subscribe to them are extremely remote on past experience. It would be very strange if they did.

Q: (Ray Matts - The Daily Mail) Max you’ve indicated your frustration with team principals over changes that you have tried to implement. Has that had an effect on your decision to retire early and what are your concerns about the future of Formula One if the team principals can’t agree on some package to improve the show?
MM:
The answer to the first question is yes. The answer to the second question that happily under these procedures that I’ve outlined under the Concorde Agreement they don’t need to agree. It is a new clause in the Concorde Agreement that was introduced in the ‘98 agreement following the problems we had when Ayrton Senna and Rolans Ratzenberger were killed and it enables us, if we believe that the cars are unacceptably fast to require them to produce measures and if they fail to produce measures to impose them ourselves. So I think what we have been saying earlier on it is very unlikely that they would agree on measures that were acceptable because it needs eight of them to agree. That means we are going to impose measures and what we are doing to try to be helpful is we are telling them the measures that we would eventually impose if that is what happened.

Q: (Mike Doodson – Mike Doodson Associates) Max I wonder if I could take you back to the Ralf incident because it is becoming clear that concussion can have a profound and prolonged effect on a drivers efficiency. In Ralf’s case he had a similar crash last year at Monza in testing and the evidence indicates that it wasn’t until this year’s Canadian Grand Prix 10 months later that he was back on the form that we knew he was capable of. It also seems that after the Monza accident Ralf bamboozled Sid Watkins into letting him run in one practice session, after which he withdrew. I wonder if you feel that there is a case for deeper investigation into drivers after they have suffered a head injury, which might actually help to protect them from themselves.
MM:
There may well be a case. I’m not actually qualified to answer. I don’t know where physical medicine stops and psychological medicine begins in that area. I really don’t know enough to answer. But it is a point worth putting to the medical people. Certainly our primary concern is that the driver should not be a danger to himself or to others. Whether he has reached his normal level of performance is of course a completely separate question that’s really between him and the team. It is probably that if you ask Sid (Watkins) you will get a much better response than from me.

Q: (Cedric Voisard – Le Figaro) What will happen about the president vacancy? Will a vice-president be named for a year as an interim or will an election be anticipated?
MM:
The answer is that at the General Assembly in October where I step down, there will be an election for the vacant post of president. It’s any vacancy in the committee or the presidency, any of the offices of the FIA, is filled by election. There will be an election of the entire body and they will decide if there is more than one candidate there will have a vote.

Q: (Cedric Voisard) Second question, you were part of the process of establishing the current system in Formula One, a system which gave a lot of power to the teams – much more than in any sport. Was it a mistake?
MM:
At the time working for the teams it was very good. But I think from the point of view of the governing body and also Formula One in general, I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was a mistake but I think it has become obsolete. My personal opinion is that what you need, and I know I have said this before, you need an honest, competent, disinterested governing body that are not hampered in what do. One shouldn’t continually have to find ingenious ways of bringing regulations in or have to wait, as we have now, until there is a serious safety problem before you can do something. But at the time it was necessary to bring some sort of stability because the people running the FIA at that time didn’t all have a very thorough knowledge of what was necessary and what was possible in Formula One. Some of the teams might say that is still the case but I don’t agree.

Q: (Alberto Antonini – Autosprint) Max since your discomfort seems to originate from the behaviour of the team principals, are you thinking of retaining a role maybe in a different structure with the roads and safety campaign? And can you name any possible successor for the FIA?
MM:
As to a possible successor, I think there are probably a number of people who see themselves as the possible successor and I would probably cause deep offence if I were to name one or two of the three people that I thought the most likely, which I certainly don’t want to do, as you understand. On the question of what I’m going to do, once I stop I won’t do very much. Eventually I’d liked to be involved in road safety and so on to some extent. I don’t want to work as hard as I have been working. One of the things that people probably don’t appreciate…it looks as though one goes around in the jets and the limos but the real job is you get into office about 9 o’clock in the morning and you work solidly until about 7 o’clock in the evening. And that is somebody who works quickly, in fact too quickly because I don’t read things properly sometimes. It is massively hard work because it is all of the road side, all of the racing side and endless difficulties. Quarrels in countries about who has the sporting power, it is absolutely never ending, and there is a certain point you start thinking there is probably more to life than this and also you feel that if you are losing interest a little bit you don’t perform well if you are not 100 percent engaged. But it is very hard work.

Q: (Jonathan Noble – Autosport) You talked about renewing your crusade to cut speeds in Formula One but there is still urgent calls for cost-cutting that needs to be done before teams or manufacturers pull out. Have you now given up on that because of the inability of the teams to agree on anything or will there be a final push?
MM:
It is a happy by-product of the move to the 2.4 reducing the power that it will also very significantly reduce the costs of the engines because of one the problems with the engines is the way the power goes up each year. If you recall we were all told back in ’94 when we went down from 3.5 litres to 3 litres after the Senna and Ratzenberger fatalities, we were told you will never see more than 600-650 horsepower – 650 is the absolute limit, law of physics and so on. Well, of course, now we are over 900 and there is this sort of four percent increase each year. If you greatly restrict the areas in which they can operate, if you eliminate the exotic materials, if you specify the dimensions of the large numbers of significant elements of the engine then you cut down the area of research and that does two things. One it reduces the amount of horsepower gained per dollar spent and secondly it reduces the incentive to spend large number of dollars. Put another way, if you think of it as a graph or performance against cost you want the slope to be almost flat if you possibly can so the difference between the man spending a fortune and the man not spending a fortune is very small. Otherwise it becomes a money-spending competition arguably now it just about is and we’ve got to stop that. In fact the two things work together on the engines. What we are proposing on the tyres will also have the benefit of reducing costs in all sorts of ways and I think if we bring in certain restrictions on the chassis, which we are doing, it will cut down the amount of research and development needed in wind tunnel. One day, if I was still in charge, I would attack that whole wind tunnel-aerodynamic thing because it is incredibly expensive, but you can’t do everything at once. The other great expense is testing, that really the teams have got to try and reach an agreement and if they don’t they will be putting themselves in great difficulty. I think they are very close to doing that so I am optimistic there.

Q: (Fritz Dieter Rencken – The Citizen) When last you addressed the press in Monaco you indicated your confidence in lifting the 48 million dollar bond. What progress has been made in that direction?
MM:
The answer is none. It would be a matter for the Formula One Commission and they would have to vote, but it is only a sporting rule and it could be changed by majority in the Formula One Commission. What that really comes down to is half the teams plus the organisers. But I am very optimistic we will see at least two new teams in Formula One, we can only see two because we only have two vacancies, by 2006 and they too will benefit from the possibility of having a limited V10 3-litre if they can’t get a 2.4 at that time, which will reduce the costs.

Q: (Joe Saward – F1 Grand Prix Special) Max there were some proposals going to the General Assembly about changing the structure of the FIA presidency role. What happened to those? And secondly, can you explain what happened to the vote about karting in the World Motor Sport Council?
MM:
The change that was suggested to the statutes was that at the moment we have a president of the whole FIA, we then have a deputy president for the mobility side as we call it, the road car side, and deputy president for sport. I suggested to them after I have gone that they might be better of having a president overall and deputy president for sport and no deputy president for touring, that would be the original structure of the FIA all the way through until well … really Balestre was the first person who held both offices and then I held both offices, but we also built the twin pillar structure. But the classic FIA structure was you had a president and a president for sport, like Balestre was in those days. There was Metternich and Ugeux and then Mettenich was president of sport and I think Baumgartner was president of the whole FIA, there was a whole history of it. It was just a question of going back to that structure. Well the sport people all started writing to me saying well if we do that it may happen it would be difficult, if not impossible, for somebody from the sport to be elected president of the FIA. That certainly wasn’t the intention and I don’t think it would have been the effect but once I got those letters I wrote to everybody saying it is not a problem, if you have got better ideas we will withdraw it and that’s what we did. We said to the General Assembly with the agreement of the senate, I think it was, we are going to withdraw that proposal. I think most of them were quite content to leave it as it is and the president can decide how much he delegates to each of the two deputy presidents. End of problem. The vote on the karting was quite funny actually because what unfortunately happened with karting is that the FIA has largely lost control of it because it is not terribly well managed and we had a working group trying to come up with measures to try to improve the situation and get it back under control and have both two-stroke and four-stroke engines inside the FIA. When it came to vote a large numbers of members of the World Council didn’t want to do that, they wanted to stay with the existing structure. I’ve seen it reported casually in the press as something of significance, which it isn’t. It is completely trivial matter. There was only one vote in the World Council on 30 June that mattered and that was the vote in favour giving notice to the Technical Working Group that we have got to do something. Fortunately, that was unanimous.

Q: (Alan Henry – The Guardian) What is the likelihood of your successor as FIA president having the same close relationship with Mr Ecclestone that you have had over the last 30 years?
MM:
I think probably very remote. We’ve known each other all that time and done all sorts of things together which almost by definition nobody else has done. On other hand Bernie is very friendly with a lot of people in the FIA and I’m sure could work very satisfactorily together with a number of them. Probably not the same sort of thing with them, the same sort of jokes that we share but apart from that would probably work very well indeed.

Q: (Kevin Eason – The Times) Two questions. Having seen a number of these guys up close for a number of years, where you constantly surprised that 10 multi-millionaires who employed hundreds of people could not agree on anything?
MM:
It is very surprising actually. Very surprising indeed. What one has to bear in mind is that they have all become rich, extremely rich because the board on which they play has been arranged by somebody else. I can say this now because I’m on my way soon. Bernie has created a monopoly board for them to play on where the money is just enormous and they have made huge sums of money. But fundamentally they are not businessmen and they are not trying to make money, they just long to win races. I can name two of them who are businessmen, and successful businessmen, but the overall atmosphere there is I just want to win the race, so if I’ve got 50 million dollars sponsorship I’ll spend 51 and borrow a million. They don’t think I’ve got 50 million sponsorship, I’ll spend 40 and put 10 in my pocket. They just don’t think in those terms. Some of them have been made rich despite themselves because they have been given so much money they couldn’t actually manage to spend it. It is not a deliberate business strategy, shall we put it like that. So when we get into a room, they all sit there and each one is thinking about their current car and defend it to the death and that is why you need the disinterested body that tries to be fair between everybody and sort the problems out. It is just hopeless trying to get them all to agree because they have their vested interests to defend.

Q: (Kevin Eason – The Times) The second question is that you are leaving at a critical time in the history of Formula One. Are you optimistic about the future or do you fear it is facing challenges that it maybe can’t overcome?
MM:
No, I’m very optimistic. In a sense I’m leaving at a critical time, but in leaving I’m doing what has to be done. As it happens they’ve opened the door because they increased the performance to such a point where we are fully entitled to take drastic measures and those will solve the problems. What will happen is the engines will be cheaper, the cars will be slower, the power will be less, the aerodynamics will come under control, the racing will get better because the tyres will be much harder, it will be possible to run off line, the braking distances will increase because there will be less grip, there will be all sorts of side benefits come from that. The aerodynamics will be such as apart from reducing the speeds of the cars in the fast corners and ensuring they don’t go faster on the straight, they will also be conducive to overtaking and closer racing. Taking all those things together I’m very optimistic for the future, I think it will be very successful, I think we will get two new teams, I think two or three engine manufacturers, once they see that these changes for 2006 are really happening, won’t leave, because in the end all we are doing is putting greater emphasis on brain work and reducing the emphasis on money. There will be talk of leaving, but take no notice it won’t happen. I’m very optimistic, it is completely set on the right path but this drastic, and make no mistake it is drastic what we are about to do, are necessary but once they’ve been done they thing will be set on a sensible course and we have to hope that we are not unlucky between now and when these measures take effect and have a serious accident. Unfortunately that can happen because we can never eliminate the danger. We are pulling the probability back but it will not be until the beginning of 2006 that these can take full effect when the engine with less power comes in.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor Sport und Sport) If you introduce a V8 engine will it be a one-weekend engine, a two-weekend engine or will they be allowed to change as they were in the past?
MM:
It would be a two race engine, I’m sorry I should have said that. So we have a two- race engine in 2005 and also the 2.4 V8 that comes in 2006 will be a two-race engine.

Q: (Byron Young – Speed Sport) And what about the tyre monopoly that you were talking about in Monte Carlo?
MM:
I would like a tyre monopoly but we cannot see a reason to do introduce a tyre monopoly to reduce performance when we can do this by regulation. So we are going to reduce performance by regulation by making the tyres last longer, therefore they will be harder and so forth, and if it doesn’t work we would have to look at a monopoly. The best advice is it will be work and it would not be justified purely on those grounds to go to a single tyre.
Q: (Byron Young) Surely the point about Ralf Schumacher’s accident was not that you got there within your own prescribed limit, but your guys didn’t get there fast enough?
MM:
Well the answer is it would have been much nicer to have got there in 20 seconds rather than 1minute 40 seconds but you have limited resources, so you would locate the cars around the circuit so that you could always get there within two minutes. On average you will always get there within one minute, but sometimes it will be more and sometimes less. But resources are limited to have an expert in resuscitation located to get there in 20 seconds. As it is not essential, what is essential is to get there in two minutes, then that is what we do. It looks unfortunate on television, but you have got to be practical, and the practical thing is to do what you have got to do and achieve what you need to achieve.

Q: (Byron Young) I assume following the drivers’ heated feelings about that accident and the reaction time that there is some sort of investigation going on within the FIA and you are talking to drivers…
MM:
There is nothing to investigate. The medical cars were deployed as soon as the accident occurred. Everything worked according to plan. We always talk to the drivers, obviously I talk to Michael amongst others about it and he understood immediately. The discussion point that is still open is, and somebody raised this earlier, when do you red flag a race? If you’ve got a certain amount of debris that presents a danger, you obviously at certain level red flag a race. The primary source of information on that is the safety car driver and a good example of his intervention was the German Grand Prix two or three years ago when they had that start line accident that involved Michael Schumacher and the safety car was called out, it did a lap and set off on the second lap and the race was red flagged. Some of our friends being as they are thought that was because Schumacher was out of the race, the truth of it was that the safety car said that the line is in covered in chards and it would be dangerous and there was no choice. Every time there is any sort of coming together on the track, you get the slightest bump between two cars you will get some chards. It is a question of degree, of judgement. You rely heavy on the safety car driver and also there is a back-up in that all the teams are talking to their drivers, and if somebody sees something, they will transmit it to the tower, since we are all in radio communications these days. We are looking at that are there any rules we can have, but each accident is different and somebody has to make a judgement. The other observation was that it would have been better to bring cars through the pit-lane in the case of Ralf Schumacher’s accident we have no procedure for doing that and we are now looking at a procedure for doing that. It is not something you could improvise on the spot. Every time an incident happens we always learn something and we try to improve as a result.

Q: (Jim Rosenthal – ITV) You laboured away in your job for 13 years, how would you want to be remembered?
MM:
I would like to be remembered as someone who moved the agenda forward in motorsport as far as safety is concerned and repositioned the FIA as a major force in road cars, which is a fundamental purpose, and improved the safety of the everyday road user. I think in all modesty we can claim to have done that. It is 13 years that are worthwhile and enjoyable, meetings with the Formula One Commission apart, it has been fascinating and enormous privilege to do it. It is the most privileged position you can imagine. But you have to know when to stop and that moment is probably here.

Q: (Wolfgang Rother – Premiere TV) Do you really think that the 2.4 V8 is an adequate formula for the championship which is considered the pinnacle of motorsport and do you think we have to slow the cars down? I think we need more entertainment on track?
MM:
On the first part, I do. Bear in mind when went to 3 litres we were told we would never go behind 650 but these 2.4’s, even with dimensional restrictions we are going to put on, you are still going to get 700 horsepower. So that is a lot more than the absolute maximum we saw in 1994. It is actually more than we had in Formula One until quite recently. It is only in the last six or seven years we have seen these over-700 horsepower come in. If you think back to early sixties, 200 horsepower would have been a very good engine in Formula One and the Cosworth engine went up to 450 and gradually up to 500. If you look at lap times seven years ago to now and you see a 7, 8, 9 seconds difference on a lap, it is completely mad. It is fast. Watching the cars you won’t notice the difference, you will notice it in an accident. There is too much energy to dissipate and we are on the limit of safety precautions. What will do is reduce the probability that we will have a driver seriously injured or killed or even worse a member of the public or a marshal. We’ve got to keep the cars under control.

Q: (James Allen – ITV) From what you’ve been saying here, we are clearly in the dying days of Formula One team owners having any kind of say over the rule-making process in Formula One. Now, after 2007, you made it clear after the Monaco meeting that you don’t see there being any Concorde Agreement beyond the end of this one. What happens, then, between now and the end of 2007? To what degree will the team owners have any kind of say in rule changes? Second question: are you planning on writing your memoirs?
MM:
The answer to the first question is that between now and 2007 the Concorde Agreement is fully in force. It’s just that we are now going to have some massive changes to technical regulations because we need them because of the excessive performance of the cars so they will have an influence over the sporting rules. For example, take the famous qualifying, if we’re going to have a new qualifying system for 2005 and I suspect we will, they will have to agree on that, but in the usual way. You need about half the teams, you need all the promoters and the other people on the Formula One Commission so they will continue to have a say. As far as I’m concerned, it won’t be my problem, but I believe they should still have a say after 2008 but I think it should be on a simple majority. I think you should put something forward and there should be two elements. You should have a simple majority of teams in favour to stop people doing something completely mad and on top of that, you should have periods of notice which are consistent with the work you’re asking them to do, so if it’s anything to do with the engine, it’s got to be at least 18 months, which I think is now recognised as the right period. If it’s anything to do with the chassis, it’s probably got to be a year ideally, and then any sporting regulation, probably more like six months, but always bearing in mind that some sporting regulations have an effect on the configuration of the car, so one has to keep that in mind as well. I’m all for people discussing but this situation we have now where if you want to change the engine just like that, you’ve got to get unanimous agreement, it’s impossible and the result is that you really have cars now which are not ideal. I think we’re going to put that right.

Q: (Tony Dodgins – Tony Dodgins and Associates) Max, a few years ago you had some problems with the European Commission and you had to pointedly split the regulatory and the commercial sides of the FIA. The commercial side is still up in the air and you’re going early, can you confirm that you have no desire to be involved in that side?
MM:
I never answered the other question about the memoir. I’ve got no plans to write a memoir. Sorry about that. Yes, the… I’ve got no plans to get involved in the commercial side. The thing is, I think the commercial side is nominally up in the air but I think that’s more apparent than real. As far as I can see, there isn’t the slightest doubt that agreement will be reached long before the present Concorde Agreement runs out that deals with everything. I think that gradually everyone understands that two championships would not be in anybody’s interest and I think they all understand that unless they reach agreement, there would be two championships. The idea that if one group go off and do their own thing there won’t be another group doing their own thing is pure fantasy. There would be. Unless you have agreement, you have two championships. If you have two championships it’s a very very bad situation where everybody would get a lot less money so they’ll end up settling. I don’t see difficulties on the commercial side. People make a great thing of it but the reality is they have to agree and because they have to agree they will agree. That’s my belief. Right, one more and then I’ll leave you in peace.

Q: (Nigel Roebuck – Autosport) Max, can you tell us something about Bernie’s reaction when you told him you’d decided to step down and did he try and dissuade you?
MM:
When I first told him I don’t think he thought I was serious but immediately after the meeting, he rang me and said ‘so you did it.’ And I said ‘yes, I actually did it.’ I don’t think he thought I would. I feel a bit sad about it, because it’s the end of an era. Obviously Bernie and I will remain friends, in fact it will probably be easier to be friends now that we are not in… I wouldn’t say opposing camps, but sometimes opposing camps. Sometimes he and I have had to take different views and defend our positions, so purely from a person point of view it is probably conducive to friendship and I hope we remain very good friends. In a way, it’s sort of sad but things move on. People change. Circumstances change. I think the worse thing one can do is particularly when you get old, over 60, to hang on is a mistake. At certain points, you’ve got to be ready to go and I’m ready, I’m happy, I’m looking forward to being able to read one of the books I want to read. I still have time to be interested in ideas. I’ll still be interested in motor sport – very interested – but I won’t feel the terrible weight of responsibility that I’ve got to make it happens. If you think of the number of people involved, it is actually a heavy responsibility, if you feel the whole time that you mustn’t make a mistake, but we all make mistakes. That part will be gone.