The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), also known as the International Automobile Federation, has had many presidents since its inception in 1904. However, one of the most influential presidents the organization ever had was Max Mosley, who was in charge from 1993 to 2009. The impact he made on FIA and on Formula One racing as a whole during his 16 years in office is quite astonishing. Here is a look at the FIA presidency of Mosley.
Mosley took office in 1993. It was not long until Mosley’s leadership abilities were put to the test. In 1994, at the San Marino Grand Prix, racing legend Ayrton Senna was killed during the race. This was one day after driver Roland Ratzenberger was killed trying to qualify for the same race. The death of a driver as famous and globally popular as Senna immediately put the sport of Formula One racing in a bad light. Mosley’s first order of business was to attend the funeral of Ratzenberger. He did this because he felt he needed to attend, in light of the fact that all of the media was covering Senna’s funeral. This gesture helped Formula One get some good PR that it sorely needed.
In the wake of the two deaths at San Marino, there was a public outcry for safety changes in Formula One. Mosley agreed, starting a series of sweeping changes to the sport that included everything from using grooved tires, to drivers wearing a mandatory device to help prevent injuries to their neck. There were also significant changes made to many of the courses on the Formula One circuit. These changes received praise from both fans and the media.
Increasing the global fan base of Formula One
One of the main reasons Mosley wanted to become the president of FIA in the first place was to have enough power to implement his plan to make Formula One more popular around the world. He knew that in order to grow the fan base, he needed to make races more easily accessible to people. In an effort to do this, he negotiated unprecedented contracts with various TV networks across the globe. This expanded the reach of Formula One racing into countries that had never heard of it before. The added exposure heightened the profile of the sport, causing many new sponsors to come on board, generating billions of dollars during Mosley’s FIA presidency.