Mohammed ben Sulayem greeted yesterday's news the Formula One crisis was finally over with a mixture of relief and sadness. The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) have dropped their plans for a rival breakaway series and all eight of their members, including Ferrari, McLaren and Brawn GP, will now be on the grid for the 2010 championship. As part of the agreement, Max Mosley will not stand for re-election when his tenure as the president of the FIA, motorsport's governing body, ends in October.
Ben Sulayem, a vice-president of Sport for the FIA and president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), is relieved the tense and worrying situation has been resolved, but disappointed it means Mosley, 69, will not continue in a role he has served for 16 years. "People were looking at all of us and thinking we were not trying to find a solution," he said. "I always felt we would, but it is just a shame it has ended the way it has. It could have been handled better and it could have been resolved without the need to lose Max.
"No matter what people think of him personally, he has done so much for motorsport and I think he would have continued had it not been for this issue with FOTA. "The breakaway series was very close and it would have been catastrophic if we could not have come to an agreement. "He did not want everything he had worked for to go to waste. He had worked for 16 years to improve motorsport and he was not going to ruin what he worked for. It takes a brave, great man to walk away like this.
"But I think he was tired too. He told me he felt differently after the recent death of his son [after a drugs overdose]. "Something like that can change anyone and whatever his reasons, you have to respect his decision now not to stand again as the president. "You also have to respect and remember the good things he did for the FIA and motorsport. He gave most of his life to this and the sport will miss him."
Ben Sulayem added it will be difficult for anyone to replace Mosley, but was hoping lessons will be learned from this episode, a dark period in the history of F1. The agreed deal will see the 10 teams in the championship joined by Campos Meta, Manor Grand Prix and Team US F1 for next season. There will be no budget cap for 2010 as planned by the FIA, but FOTA-proposed cost-cutting measures with technical assistance given to the three new teams.
"Everyone is to blame for this situation really because each side had their own ideas and arguments," added ben Sulayem. "The FIA cared about motorsport and the financial situation and the teams cared about what was happening to Formula One. Before there was no winner and now we have had enough of these unnecessary fights. "I hope everybody will learn from this. Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport and we want it remain like that. We want it to be exciting and competitive, but without financial problems.
"We will lose Max, but life goes on and I hope we can move forward. The FIA have lost a leader, but nobody is irreplaceable. The new president will not be Max and will do things differently, in his own way. It is a big responsibility and we need someone who is strong, and who will do what is right for motorsport and the people. We must not forget that the FIA belongs to the people." @Email:email@example.com