Mosley to step down after deal to prevent F1 split

PARIS – A breakaway Formula One series was averted Wednesday when Max Mosley ceded to the rebel teams' demand that a planned budget cap be scrapped and the FIA president said he won't seek re-election.

Mosley will immediately take a back-seat role until his 16-year reign ends in October — a move that will help to end the acrimonious atmosphere that has blighted F1 in recent months.

The Formula One Teams Association had feared teams that signed up for the voluntary $65 million budget cap would have greater technical freedom than those who refused, creating a two-tier championship next season.

Instead, a watered-down cost-cutting deal was accepted by the FOTA members — Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Brawn GP.

"There will be no split. There will be one F1 championship in 2010," Mosley said at FIA's Paris headquarters. "We have reached agreement to a reduction of costs — we have had significant help from the FOTA teams and the objective is to get back to the spending levels of the early '90s within two years."

Mosley said the deal still maintains the "financial viability" of teams that he had been targeting with the initial cap amid the global economic crisis.

"Obviously we're very happy that common sense has prevailed as I always believed it would because the alternative was not good at all," said Bernie Ecclestone, F1's commercial rights holder. "Everything is in good shape."

As part of the agreement, existing teams must help new outfits — three are debuting next season — with their engines, chassis and further technical assistance. The FIA also expects the teams to sign up to a revised version of the 1998 Concorde Agreement, the confidential commercial document governing the sport.

"Everyone got what they wanted," World Motorsport Council member Lars Osterlind told The Associated Press. "Everybody recognized the need for a compromise that everyone knew had to happen. Ultimately FOTA remembered that there needs to be an independent body that oversees motorsport. The best solution was not to break away."

Last weekend's British Grand Prix had been overshadowed by the split between the FIA and FOTA members, some of whom were branded "loonies" by Mosley after their decision to form a rival series.

Mosley said Friday that legal proceedings would be issued against FOTA, but backed down 48 hours later when he insisted that a deal was "very, very close."

Now the FOTA members hope to move on from the crisis that threatened to rip F1 apart.

"There have been problems in the last few months, but as Max — or Mr. Mosley — has said, it's important to solve these problems," said Luca di Montezemolo, the Ferrari president and FOTA chairman.

What will help heal the rifts is the departure of the often divisive Mosley, who has been the president of the FIA, the international automobile federation that governs Formula One, since 1993.

His leadership style has been criticized as too autocratic, and many of the teams blamed him for precipitating the split between FOTA and the FIA. Still, Mosley announced over the weekend that he was seriously considering running for a fifth term.

But he said Wednesday: "I will not be up for re-election now we have peace. It is a great relief and that is going to enable me to take a step back for the summer.

"I will be able to look at Formula One knowing it's peaceful and stable, and I will be able to stop — as was always my intention — in October of this year. So I won't present myself for re-election."

"This for me is an enormous relief," Mosley added, referring to "personal difficulties" he has faced.

His son, Alexander Mosley, was found dead at his luxury apartment May 5 after an accidental drug overdose.

The 69-year-old FIA president, the son of former British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, was at the center of a media frenzy last year when a tabloid newspaper reported he took part in a sadomasochistic orgy with five prostitutes in London. A video of the incident was widely circulated on the Internet.

Mosley successfully sued the News of the World for invasion of privacy.

The episode brought calls for Mosley's ouster as FIA president, but he won an overwhelming vote of confidence to stay on.


AP Sports Writer Rob Harris in London contributed to this report.
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