(GMM) Late former FIA president Max Mosley took his own life with a firearm last May, a London inquest has found.
At the time, it was thought the 81-year-old former F1 team boss and close associate of former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had succumbed to cancer.
But Westminster Coroner’s Court has in fact recorded the cause of death as suicide, with Mosley apparently deciding to end his life after being told that his life expectancy was “very limited” and he would suffer “debilitating” pain.
He left a suicide note after sharing a final meal with his wife.
“I am entirely satisfied Mr Mosley would not have undertaken this action but for the distressing and debilitating terminal lymphoma,” senior coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox found.
She added that Mosley, who was FIA president between 1993 and 2009, had “explored all treatment options” for his cancer and was facing a move into palliative care.
“He has taken a shot gun from a locked cabinet at his own home for which he had a licence,” said Wilcox. “He took a shotgun and loaded it with cartridges, placed it in his mouth and pulled the trigger.”
All that could be read on a blood-soaked suicide note was “I feel I had no choice”.
In the coroner’s inquest, Mosley’s family said his biggest achievement was “the promotion of road safety” and “green technology in Formula 1”.
Ecclestone, ten years older than Mosley, said the Briton’s death was “like losing a brother”.
“He did a lot of good things not just for motorsport but also the car industry. He was very good in making sure people built cars that were safe,” he said.
May 25, 2021
STATEMENT FROM SIR FRANK WILLIAMS
It is with great sadness that I reflect on the passing of Max Mosley, aged 81. Max had a profound impact on the wider world of motorsport, but on a personal level played an integral role in helping establish the foundations for the Williams team. He was a smart, talented man and his loss will be felt deeply by all those who knew him.
I first met Max back in the 1960’s when he entered the world of motorsport as a driver. I prepared his car in Formula Two and, whilst he was never the quickest driver on the grid, he was always intelligent behind the wheel. After retiring from driving, I continued to work with Max through his March Engineering business, running customer cars in the early 1970’s under the Frank Williams Racing Cars banner. I would return to running a March chassis having founded Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977, with Patrick Nève taking the team’s first start at the Spanish Grand Prix that year. Max’s passing is particularly poignant for me given the role he played in the origins of Williams Racing, as the team celebrated its 750th Grand Prix last weekend in Monaco. It is fair to say that the team would not have achieved what it has achieved if it were not for the support Max gave in those early days, and I will forever be grateful to him for that.
Despite his success as a chassis builder, Max’s political acumen was always clear and I had every confidence in the creation of The Formula One Constructors’ Association (FOCA) in 1974, with Max, myself, Bernie Ecclestone, Colin Chapman, Teddy Mayer, and Ken Tyrrell being founding members. This political skill led to Max having a profound impact on not only F1 but motorsport and road safety, in his role as president of the FIA. As a team owner, I had many dealings with him in this position and whilst we did not always see eye-to-eye on every issue, he was always willing to have a frank conversation and exchange of views. He led the sport into a new era during this period, one characterised by improved safety and technological innovation, and for that he will always be remembered fondly.
My thoughts, and those of the Williams family, go out to his family and friends at this challenging time.
May 24, 2021
Former FIA motorsport boss Max Mosley has died at 81.
His death was confirmed by ex-Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who described his death as “like losing a brother”.
Mosley was born in London in 1940, and was a barrister and former amateur racing driver. He also was a founder and co-owner of March Engineering, the now defunct Formula 1 racing team.
Mr. Mosley served three terms as president of the FIA from 1993 to 2009.
Mr. Mosley, in his role as FIA president, led widespread reforms of safety procedures in Formula 1 following the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994.
Mr. Ecclestone added: “He did, a lot of good things not just for motorsport, also the car industry. He was very good in making sure people built cars that were safe,” he added.
Current FIA president Jean Todt said in a tweet he was “deeply saddened” by the news, adding that Mr. Mosley “strongly contributed to reinforcing safety on track and on the roads”.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for F1 described Mr. Mosley as “a huge figure in the transition” of the sport.
The one thing he advocated for, but was never able to get consensus was the budget cuts for F1 that never got done until the new F1 owner – Americans (Liberty Media) – pushed through. Mosley long ago said that F1 would eventually die if it did not implement budget cuts.