Saturday October 21st, 2000
FIA president Max Mosley on Saturday released copies of a crushing letter he sent to McLaren chief Ron Dennis accusing him of damaging the sport with his criticisms of the ruling body.
Mosley, president of the FIA, said Dennis's conduct at the recent Japanese Grand Prix could be seen as a "breach of the International Sporting Code."
The letter, dated October 19 and circulated among reporters at the Malaysian Grand Prix, rebuffed Dennis's criticisms and used a tone which ridiculed the Briton.
"No-one in the FIA objects to criticism, particularly if it is properly thought out and rational but there comes a point when the interests of Formula One as a sport are threatened. You do a lot of damage when, as a team principal, you constantly suggest that the Formula One world championship is not properly or fairly run," Mosley wrote.
"Although you would not intend such a thing, your actions might also be seen as an attempt to intimidate our officials, something which is now a recognised problem in other sports. This all discourages new sponsors and new fans. Indeed, at a certain level, such conduct can be a breach of the International Sporting Code."
War Of Words
The letter is certain to intensify the war of words that has existed between Dennis and Mosley for several months.
Six weeks ago, Dennis led calls for Mosley to be ousted as president of the FIA, a move that the British president survived before declaring himself set to stand again until 2006.
Mosley wrote in the four-page letter: "I would ask you to think things through more carefully before expressing your opinions. It may also help if you contact me occasionally. This might enable you to understand better the FIA's position and perhaps form a more balanced view."
In the four-page letter, Mosley shoots down Dennis's reported suggestions that Roberto Causo, an Italian, should not have served as a steward at the Japanese race when Ferrari were poised to win the drivers' championship with Michael Schumacher.
"Do you not see the absurdity of your position?" wrote Mosley. "Imagine what would happen if Italy and Ferrari, not to mention Benetton, Jordan, Minardi, Prost and Sauber, took the same line about the British as you do about the Italians. Fortunately, their approach is more rational.
Mosley Defends Flags
"Remember, if we eliminate Italian stewards we must if we are to be consistent also eliminate not just British, Finnish and German stewards but any other official who shares nationality with a team or driver. This was really not one of your more inspired ideas."
Mosley defended a plan to use flags to help eliminate unsporting driving, which Dennis had criticised.
"Instead of attacking the FIA, you should be grateful that you have a governing body which attempts to prevent difficulties from arising rather than try to deal with them when it is too late," he wrote.
"If you think you could do better you can (as I have already suggested to you) start your own series with your own sporting and technical rules....
"What you should not do, however, is enter our Formula One world championship on whose rule-making body you sit and whose regulations and procedures have been known to you for more than 30 years and then undermine it by constantly complaining to anyone in the media who will listen."