Ex-F1 boss Max Mosley – scandal-hit privacy campaigner and son of former UK fascist leader Oswald Mosley – dies aged 81
Max Mosley, the former head of motor sport governing body the FIA, has died aged 81. Mosley headed the FIA for more than a decade but stepped down amid a political row and following controversy surrounding his private life.
Fellow former F1 powerbroker Bernie Ecclestone confirmed the news of Mosley’s passing to the BBC on Monday, saying: “It’s like losing family, like losing a brother.
“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 had reportedly been suffering from cancer.
A former racing driver who studied at Oxford University, Mosley left his role at the FIA in 2009 after serving three terms as president.
His departure came amid disagreements over the direction of the sport but also personal tragedy, following the drug overdose death of his eldest son and scandal surrounding Mosley’s private life.
In the summer of 2008, Mosley won £60,000 ($85,000) damages from the News of the World for gross invasion of privacy after the Sunday tabloid falsely accused him of taking part in a “sick Nazi orgy.”
The paper had printed images and shared footage of the racing chief indulging in a sadomasochistic sex session with prostitutes in a London apartment.
The judge in the case had said there was no evidence of “an enactment of Nazi behavior or adoption of any of its attitudes.”
Mosley became a major campaigner for strict press and privacy controls in the wake of the scandal.
Despite winning the case, Mosley’s reputation lay in tatters as he later departed the FIA with the sport locked in a battle over a potential breakaway championship among some of the biggest teams.
Mosley was the youngest son of 1930s fascist leader Oswald Mosley and his wife Diana Mitford.
Flirting with a political career of his own, Mosley also competed as a racing driver at a national level in the UK and then in Formula 2 with Brabham and Lotus.
He retired from driving in 1969 and co-founded March Engineering, which went on to become one of the world's leading racing car manufacturers.
After being involved with the motor racing authorities in various roles, Mosely was elected as head of the FIA (international racing federation) in 1993, where he would serve until 2009.
After news of his passing, Mosley was praised for the safety innovations he pushed in the sport, not least in the wake of the Imola tragedy in 1994 which claimed the lives of F1 racers Roland Ratzenberger and three-time world champion Ayrton Senna on the same weekend.
So few realise the very good work that Max Mosley did as regards safety in racing & its transfer into road cars. The pioneering work which he drove at the FIA post Imola ‘94 helped make safety a key marketing tool for car co’s. A fascinating man, with quite the life story. #F1— Mark Gallagher (@_markgallagher) May 24, 2021
Max Mosley has died, Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed to BBC Sport. He was 81. A titanic and controversial figure, who changed the face of motorsport safety in his role as FIA president— Andrew Benson (@andrewbensonf1) May 24, 2021
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