Former F1 chief and media regulation activist Max Mosley dies aged 81

He helped set up a media watchdog after being the subject of a 'News of the World' story

Max Mosley, the former Formula One president who waged a campaign for media restrictions, has died aged 81.

Confirming his death, ex-Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone told BBC Sport: "It's like losing family, like losing a brother, Max and I.

"He did a lot of good things not just for motorsport [and the car industry]. He was very good at making sure people built cars that were safe."

Once one of the main figures in Grand Prix racing, Mr Mosley also threw his weight behind press restrictions following a News of the World story in 2008 about his sex life, along with unfounded allegations regarding Nazi connotations.

After winning a lengthy landmark privacy case against Rupert Murdoch's media empire, he set up a press watchdog called Impress.

Mr Mosley – the son of Sir Oswald Mosley, a Second World War-era leader of the fascist movement in Britain and sympathiser of Adolf Hitler – was born in London on April 13, 1940.

He began his career as a barrister and amateur racing driver. He was also involved in European Formula Two, working for Brabham and Lotus until 1969.

That same year he founded car manufacturing company March Engineering, overseeing its legal and commercial affairs until 1977.

He became the official legal adviser to the Formula One Constructors' Association in the mid-70s and helped draw up a peace agreement between it and FISA, F1's governing body at the time.

He became FISA president in 1991 and two years later took over at the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), where he was president of Formula One and other international motorsports until 2009.

Mr Mosley, who had been diagnosed with cancer, is survived by his wife Jean. Their son Alexander died aged 39 in 2009.