Driven to distraction: former world champion Damon Hill believes Max Mosley is harming Formula One by refusing to resign.
British Formula One drivers from across the generations have called on FIA president Max Mosley to do the right thing by the sport and resign immediately. Damon Hill, world champion in 1996 and current president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club; former Ferrari driver and five-times Le Mans 24-hour winner Derek Bell; and Tony Brooks, who finished second in the F1 world championship in 1959, added their voices to those demanding that Mosley should step down after it was revealed he took part in a spanking and sex session with five prostitutes. Striped concentration camp-like overalls were worn, and Mosley admits speaking German to the women, but he has denied there were any Nazi connotations.
“He has to think of racing instead of himself, and stop being so damned selfish,” said Bell. “This affair is doing serious damage. We’ve had enough crises in F1 over the past few years, we don’t need any more. I understand him maintaining what went on was his own business and that it shouldn’t have been publicised, but now that it has, a man in his position simply has to bow out gracefully, though that’s hardly the right word. You just say, ‘I apologise, I’ve had a wonderful run and that’s it, goodbye’.”
Hill, speaking for the first time on the subject, said that while F1 has always had something of a risqué image, Mosley’s actions had gone beyond the pale. “None of us wants to be moralising about individuals, but there has to be an element here to do with the image of the sport, and the ability of the premier representative of the sport in the world to continue to engage with a politic concerned about values,” said Hill. “It’s a practical issue, but it’s also a marketing issue. Businesses connected with the sport want a positive image, and politicians want to engage with it because they know motorsport people support those values.”
Brooks, one of the senior statesmen of the sport in the UK and one of the greatest drivers Britain has produced, said it was not Mosley’s morals that were the problem. “He has obviously lost status, because while he denies any Nazi connotations, cavorting around with prostitutes in that manner is not something to be proud of,” said Brooks. “No doubt other people do it and don’t get found out, but he has been, and in his position he needs to have status and image. I don’t condemn his private practices - if he thinks what he was doing is all right, that’s between him and his maker. Sexual perversion is something you don’t judge these days, but his is a terribly important position, a prestigious position. To me he’s dragging the sport into disrepute, and that can’t be right.”