Jean-Marie Balestre dies

The controversial Jean-Marie Balestre has died at the age of 86. For 13 years, until he was toppled by Max Mosley, he was the most powerful man in the motor sport world, as president of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).

Balestre was a passionate racing fan and a man who did much for the sport. It has been argued, notably by the late Ayrton Senna, that in the end Balestre was corrupted by his powers and that he manipulated the outcome of the 1989 Formula 1 World Championship in favour of Alain Prost. That was a radical claim, for Senna had much to do to win the title, but there is no doubt that Balestre's interventions did Prost no harm at all. In the end Senna was forced to back down. Even the sport's biggest name could not challenge the FIA President. More at Grandprix.com

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