Max Mosley

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Max Rufus Mosley (13 April 1940 – 23 May 2021) was a British racing driver, lawyer, and president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), a non-profit association which represents the interests of motoring organisations and car users worldwide. The FIA is also the governing body for Formula One and other international motorsports.

Race car driver and FICA President (1940–2021)

Max Mosley

Mosley in 1969
President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile
In office
23 October 1993  23 October 2009
Preceded by Jean-Marie Balestre
Succeeded by Jean Todt
Personal details
Max Rufus Mosley

(1940-04-13)13 April 1940
London, England

Died 23 May 2021(2021-05-23) (aged 81)
London, England
Nationality British
Jean Taylor

(m. 1960)

Children 2
Residence Monaco
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

A barrister and amateur racing driver, Mosley was a founder and co-owner of March Engineering,[1] a racing car constructor and Formula One racing team. He dealt with legal and commercial matters for the company between 1969 and 1977 and became its representative at the Formula One Constructors’ Association (FOCA), the body that represents Formula One constructors. Together with Bernie Ecclestone he represented FOCA at the FIA and in its dealings with race organisers. In 1978, Mosley became the official legal adviser to FOCA. In this role he and Marco Piccinini negotiated the first version of the Concorde Agreement, which settled a long-standing dispute between FOCA and the Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA), a commission of the FIA and the then governing body of Formula One. Mosley was elected president of FISA in 1991 and became president of the FIA, FISA’s parent body, in 1993.

Mosley identified his major achievement as FIA President as the promotion of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP or Encap).[1] He also promoted increased safety and the use of green technologies in motor racing. In 2008, stories about his sex life appeared in the British press, along with unfounded allegations regarding Nazi connotations. Mosley successfully sued the newspaper that published the allegations and maintained his position as FIA president. He stood down at the end of his term in 2009 and was replaced by his preferred successor, Jean Todt.

Mosley was the youngest son of Sir Oswald Mosley, former leader of the British Union of Fascists, and Diana Mitford.[1] He was educated in France, Germany, and Britain before going on to attend university at Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated with a degree in physics. He then changed to law and was called to the bar in 1964. In his teens and early twenties, Mosley was involved with his father’s post-war political party, the Union Movement (UM). He commented that the association of his surname with fascism stopped him from developing his interest in politics further, although he briefly worked for the Conservative Party in the early 1980s.

Mosley was the subject of Michael Shevloff’s 2020 biographical documentary Mosley.[2] He died at the age of 81 on 23 May 2021.[3]

. . . Max Mosley . . .

Max Mosley was born on 13 April 1940[4] in London, in the early years of the Second World War. His father was Sir Oswald Mosley and his mother was Diana, Lady Mosley, one of the Mitford sisters.[5] In addition to his older full-brother Alexander, Mosley had five older half-siblings. On his father’s side, they included the novelist Nicholas Mosley, 3rd Baron Ravensdale (1923–2017).[6] On his mother’s side they were the merchant banker Jonathan Guinness, 3rd Baron Moyne (born 1930), and the Irish preservationist Desmond Guinness (1931 – 2020).[7] He was a nephew of Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire and first cousin of Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire. He was also third cousin of Winston Churchill MP, the grandson of the British prime minister and fifth cousin of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.[5]

His father had been a Labourminister, and Member of Parliament for both the Conservative and Labour parties in the 1920s before leaving mainstream politics and becoming leader of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in the 1930s. The month after Max’s birth, Sir Oswald, who had campaigned for a negotiated peace between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany, was interned by the British Authorities under Defence Regulation 18B, along with other active fascists in Britain. Max’s mother was imprisoned a month later.[8] Max and his brother Alexander were not included in their parents’ internment and, as a result, were separated from them for the first few years of their lives. In December 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill asked the Home SecretaryHerbert Morrison to ensure Lady Mosley was able to see Max regularly.[9][10]

Sir Oswald and Lady Mosley were released from detention at HMP Holloway on 16 November 1943, provoking widespread public protests.[5] Their children were refused entry to several schools, due to a combination of their wildness and their parents’ reputation, and were initially tutored at home instead.[11] The family moved to a succession of country houses in England. Mosley’s older half-brother Nicholas described the family, including Sir Oswald’s children from his first marriage, spending the summer of 1945 getting the harvest in and shooting at Crowood Farm, near Ramsbury, Wiltshire.[12] In 1950, the Mosleys bought houses in Ireland, and in Orsay, near Paris. They spent the year moving around Europe, spending the spring in France and the autumn and winter in Ireland, where Mosley was keen on riding and hunting.[13][14] His aunt Nancy Mitford, in letters to Evelyn Waugh, recalled Sir Oswald and his family cruising the Mediterranean Sea on the family yacht. On one such trip they visited Spain and were entertained by Sir Oswald’s friend General Franco.[15]

At the age of 13, Mosley was sent to Stein an der Traun in Germany for two years, where he learned to speak fluent German.[8] On his return to England, he spent a year at Millfield, an independent boarding school in Somerset, after which he continued his education in London for two years. He attended Christ Church at Oxford University, graduating with a degree in Physics in 1961. During his time there, he was secretary of the Oxford Union where his father spoke on two occasions, once with Jeremy Thorpe on the other side. In 1960, Mosley introduced his father to Robert Skidelsky, one of Mosley’s contemporaries at the university, later a biographer of his father.[16] Rejecting an early ambition to work as a physicist after “establishing that there was no money in it”,[17] Mosley studied law at Gray’s Inn in London and qualified as a barrister in 1964. After a pupillage with Maurice Drake, he specialised in patent and trademark law.[8] From 1961 to 1964, Mosley was a member of the Territorial Army, Parachute Regiment (44th Independent Parachute Brigade Group).[18]

Mosley, like many of Formula One’s drivers, lived in Monaco. On 9 June 1960, he was married at the Chelsea Register Office to Jean Taylor, the daughter of James Taylor, a policeman from Streatham.[19] In 1970, their first son, Alexander, was born, and in 1972 their second son, Patrick.[20] On 5 May 2009, Alexander, a restaurateur, was found dead at his home. He was thirty-nine. At an inquest on 10 June 2009, the Westminster coroner declared that he had died due to non-dependent drug abuse.[21][22]

. . . Max Mosley . . .

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. . . Max Mosley . . .

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