Mosley needs to work on German relations

When you're running a huge business, mortally offending two of your biggest customers isn't very bright.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Max Mosley, who as president of the FiA is effectively the man in charge of Formula One motor racing, is in serious hot water after the News of the World got hold of a video that appears to show him acting out all manner of sordid sex games with a gang of prostitutes dressed in Nazi uniforms. And MT hears that German motor companies Mercedes and BMW, two of F1’s biggest teams, are (not surprisingly) hopping mad about it.

The lurid details of what Mosley allegedly got up to with these five hookers aren’t really suitable for a family business bulletin, but suffice to say that (according to the NotW) it involves some unbelievably distasteful role-playing about Nazi guards and concentration camps. Not very politic if true, particularly given that Mosley happens to be the son of Sir Oswald Mosley – Britain’s most famous fascist and chum of Adolf Hitler.

It would be shameful enough for your average 67-year-old to be exposed by a tabloid newspaper as ‘a secret sado-masochist sex pervert’ with a fetish for Nazi role-playing. But it would be particularly hideous if you’re the most powerful man in a sport that relies heavily on the patronage of two huge German car companies. Mercedes provides the engine for Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren team (which almost won the F1 championship last year), while BMW Sauber (who are based in Munich) are the biggest challengers to the McLaren/ Ferrari dominance. How would Mosley go into a meeting with either of them ever again if they knew this was what he likes to get up to in his spare time?

Mosley has been president of the FIA since 1993, and has built Formula One into a huge international business – making himself a very rich man in the process. But although he’s always been outspoken, he’s going to need more than just a thick skin to get away with this one (first step is apparently a plan to sue the NotW for a breach of privacy, according to today's reports).

Of course Mercedes and BMW are not the only people up in arms – Jewish groups, anti-racism campaigners and various other pundits have all been lining up to denounce his alleged antics. But on the ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ principle, the two German companies could turn out to be the most influential voices in the inevitable furore...

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