Max Mosley has confirmed he will not be standing for re-election as FIA president later this year, proposing the former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt as his successor. Mosley had suggested he would keep his options open after becoming infuriated by comments made by Ferrari president and Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) chairman Luca di Montezemolo in the wake of a peace pact agreed three weeks ago. But in a letter sent today to all member clubs of motor sport's world governing body, Mosley has made it clear his 16-year reign will come to an end in October this year. The 69-year-old has revealed he received 100 messages of support urging him to stand again, citing them as "deeply rewarding" and for which he was "very grateful".
But with a new Concorde Agreement close to being signed, and in respect to his family ? in particular losing son Alexander to drug abuse just over two months ago ? Mosley has decided to call it a day. In the letter, Mosley said: "From a personal point of view it would be very difficult for me to change my mind and stand again. "I began some months ago to rearrange my family life with effect from next October. I also informed senior FIA staff I would not be a candidate. "To continue now would greatly complicate my domestic arrangements and be inconsistent with my obligations to my family, particularly after our recent loss. "Also, I have felt for some time I would like to work less. After all, I will be 70 next year.
"Therefore, with these new arrangements in place, extremely grateful though I am for all the letters, e-mails and messages I have received, I have decided to reconfirm my decision. "I will not be a candidate in October." Mosley, who will continue to have a place on the FIA Senate, has decided to offer his full support to Todt. It will be an unpopular move with the Formula One teams as the Frenchman, 63, is far from a particularly well-liked character. In his letter, Mosley added: "I believe the objectives of those who have been kind enough to support me can be achieved if you elect a strong, experienced and competent team, one which will maintain the independence of the FIA, and ensure both the sport and mobility side are properly run.
"I believe the right person to head that team would be Jean Todt. "Jean is unquestionably the outstanding motorsport manager of his generation, and arguably of any generation. "If he agrees to stand, I think he would be the ideal person to continue, but also to extend the work of the past 16 years. "He can be relied on in all areas where the FIA is active. I very much hope you will give him your support." Mosley also dismissed suggestions Todt would be neither impartial nor independent given his background, most notably with Ferrari. "I must emphasise, he would not in any way be a motor industry candidate," insisted Mosley.
"He would have no special relationship with his former company, Ferrari, nor with Peugeot Citroen, the manufacturer behind his former World Rally, Cross-Country and Le Mans teams. "He would preserve the independence of the FIA." If Todt decides to stand he will be up against former World Rally champion Ari Vatanen after the 57-year-old Finn announced his candidature last week.
* PA Sport