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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.
A barrister and former amateur racing driver, Max Mosley was a founder and co-owner of March Engineering, 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). 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. 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. He died in 2021.
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