His critics may be happy to see the back of him, but Max Mosley has left motorsport in better shape than it would have been without him.
Ben Sulayem praise for 'mentor' Mosley
His critics may be happy to see the back of him, but Max Mosley has left motorsport in better shape than it would have been without him. That is the view of Mohammed ben Sulayem, the president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and one of Mosley's most trusted allies. After 16 years as the most powerful man in motorsport, the Englishman has been replaced by Jean Todt as the president of the world governing body, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
Mosley's term has been riddled with highs and lows and culminated with a bitter struggle that saw Formula One's top teams threaten to create a breakaway world championship series in the summer in a row over an enforced budget cap, which was ultimately dropped. But ben Sulayem said: "I believe we will all miss Max. People don't understand how difficult this job is and how much pressure is on him to make the right decision and satisfy everyone.
"To do it for 16 solid years, that takes a great man and we should not forget this. "There will be people happy that he is no longer the president, but motorsport would not be where it was if it wasn't for him. "He stood up for the sport, improved safety, negotiated with manufacturers and he got support from governments to invest in the many ventures over the years. "What he also did is reach out to new countries like the Middle East. Now we have Grands Prix in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, but we also have a developing infrastructure in motorsport in many countries.
"I believe we would not have got to this level without him." As a former president, Mosley will be part of the FIA Senate and may well still have a say in decisions if Todt decides to extend the powers of the body. That would not be a bad thing, according to ben Sulayem, who was a vice president for Sport under Mosley and has been re-elected to the same role under Todt after Friday's election. "The experience of Max should not be wasted," he added. "I, for one, will always go to him for advice. He was a mentor and a friend.
"On Friday, I said, 'Max, I have one last favour. Please give me all your DVDs of your World Council and general assembly meetings'. I want to learn from him. He had his own voice and commanded respect. No one stays in this position for 16 years if you do not have that." Mosley believes ben Sulayem has the qualities to become a future president himself and the Emirati said: "That would be a proud honour for me, my country and the Middle East.
"Of course it is something you think about and I will continue to learn under Jean. I hope everyone can put aside any differences and bad feeling during the election process and work together for the benefit of motorsport. "We have the first Grand Prix in my country next week and we are all excited about this. I hope we can make a statement to the world." @Email:email@example.com