Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has warned FIA president Max Mosley against waging war over control of the sport.
Mosley last week wrote a letter to all the presidents of the FIA’s member clubs insisting a vote of confidence on his future in Paris next month should not just be about whether he is fit to continue in office.
The 68-year-old, whose private life was recently exposed by the 'News of the World', maintains there is a power struggle currently engulfing F1.
Although Mosley does not name Ecclestone in his letter, he refers on several occasions to the Formula One Commercial Rights Holder, or CRH, which is Ecclestone.
Mosley states the FIA is “in the middle of a renegotiation of the 100-year commercial agreement (that began in 2000)” with the CRH.
Mosley maintains the CRH has “asked for control of the Formula One regulations and the right to sell the business to anyone – in effect to take over Formula One completely.”
Mosley is refusing to allow this, and believes if he were to be voted out it would seriously weaken the FIA’s position.
Speaking to 'The Times', Ecclestone has dismissed the claims, insisting: “This whole business is really about what was printed in the 'News of the World' and whether this in any way damaged the FIA clubs or the FIA – that’s all.
“It’s nothing to do with anything else and I don’t quite know why he’s come out and said these things.
“I am sorry if the press have reported things which he doesn’t like, but we certainly don’t have any influence over the FIA.
“I sincerely hope it isn’t a declaration of war because, if that’s what the message should be, then we’ll have to defend ourselves.
“That is what anyone would do. I don’t believe that’s what Max wanted the letter to say. I don’t want to have a war with Max. I hope he doesn’t want one with me.”
Ecclestone, along with the board of CVC Capital Partners, which owns the commercial rights to F1, are to reply to the FIA club presidents with a letter of their own.
After a meeting yesterday between CVC and Ecclestone, the latter added: “We have decided we are going to contact all the clubs who Max wrote to, with a reply to the matters raised in his letter.”
Referring to the extraordinary meeting on June 3, Ecclestone said: “I think the general assembly of the FIA was called for one reason only – to decide whether or not they think Max is the right person to be their president.
“The vote will be on that, not about the Concorde Agreement (the contract under which the teams race in Formula One).”