Former Formula 1 chief Max Mosley has died at home in Chelsea aged 81, MailOnline can reveal today.
Mr Mosley was President of the FIA for 16 years and one of F1’s most influential ever figures, but later threw his weight — and his millions — behind calls for stricter Press controls after the News of the World filmed him at a sadomasochistic orgy with five prostitutes.
His father was Sir Oswald Mosley, the Blackshirt fascist leader and Hitler sympathiser and his mother was Lady Diana Mosley, the third of the Mitford sisters. Hitler even attended the secret wedding of his parents hosted in the home of Joseph Goebbels in Berlin in 1936.
Mr Mosley was a barrister and amateur racing driver who would go on to help build F1 into a global mega-brand with Bernie Ecclestone, who told MailOnline today that his death was like losing a brother and admitted he wished he’d done more to defend him in the wake of the sex scandal in 2008 when sponsors wanted him sacked.
Max is survived by his wife Jean Mosley, who he married in 1960 and stood by him as his F1 career was overshadowed by a sex scandal that saw him win a landmark privacy case against Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. He also has a son Patrick. He later dedicated his time and money to bankrolling Press watchdog Impress, set up in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry.
Bernie Ecclestone told MailOnline: ‘It’s like losing a family member, he was like a brother to me. We understood each other. It meant that one of us could criticise the other if we didn’t like a particular idea. I’d always kept in touch with him and we spoke often.
‘It goes without saying that I am sorry that I am Max has died but it is also a merciful release.
He had been in a bad way for weeks and I am just glad he didn’t suffer for too long. I have lost what feels like a member of my family.
Former Formula One tycoon Max Mosley has died at home in west London aged 81, MailOnline revealed today
Bernie Ecclestone confirmed Mr Mosley’s death to MailOnline and described it as like losing a member of his family. The pair helped build F1 into an international mega-brand in the 1990s
A rare picture of the Mitford family together, pictured in 1935. From left: Unity, Tom, Debo, Diana, Jessica, Nancy and Pamela
Max is survived by his wife Jean Mosley, who he married in Chelsea in 1960 (pictured). He was the son of Sir Oswald Mosley, the odious Blackshirt fascist leader and Hitler sympathiser, right together with his mother Lady Diana Mosley in 1962
‘Max did a lot of good things for motor sport and did a lot of good things for the motor industry in terms of making cars super safe.
‘He was a straight forward guy, he wasn’t someone who suffered fools gladly.
One of my big regrets is not speaking out for him during his well publicised sex scandal but at the time I had the FIA and the sponsors all advising against him. But Max was happy, he understood the position I was in. I will miss him.’
A spokesperson for Formula 1 said they had lost a big character who changed much in the sport.
Engineering team principals Max Mosley (later FIA president), Alan Rees and Robin Herd with the Ford Cosworth V8 engine before the start of the 1971 Formula 1 Grand Prix season at the March Engineering facility in Bicester, United Kingdom
Max Mosley seen at the wheel of a race car back in 1968, when he started as a driver before his meteoric rise in the sport
Max Mosley talks with McLaren F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and his brother Nick at the 2007 FIA Gala Prize Giving Ceremony
They added: “We are saddened to hear that Max Mosley former FIA President has passed away.
Max Mosley successfully sued over this News of the World exclusive in 2008
‘A huge figure in the transition of Formula 1. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.
Mosley, who was born in London on April 13, 1940, was the son of 1930s British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley. His mother Lady Diana was one of the Mitford sisters.
After the Second World War, during which his parents were both jailed, Mosley was sent to school in Germany for two years, where he learned to speak fluent German.
On his return to England, he spent a year at Millfield, a prestigious international boarding school, and then later went on to the University of Oxford, graduating with a degree in physics in 1961, a year after he married his wife Jean, the daughter of a South London policeman.
After a short career as a barrister and several years as an amateur racing driver, he then forged a career in motor racing, taking control of the FIA in 1993 until 2009 – leaving after a year of battling to keep his job over the orgy filmed by a prostitute and sold to the News of the World.
In 2008 he won a privacy case against the News of the World newspaper after it printed photographs and published video of his involvement in a sadomasochistic sex session.
It was reported by the newspaper as a ‘sick Nazi orgy’ but Justice Eady found no evidence of Nazi themes in his judgement. He also said there was no public interest defence in the clandestine recording of the session.
FIA World Council chairman Max Mosley following an FIA hearing into Michael Schumacher’s crash with Jacques Villeneuve
Max Mosley seen deep in conversation with Ron Dennis, Grand Prix of Monaco, Circuit de Monaco, back on 22 May, 2005
On the afternoon of March 28, 2008, Mr Mosley — calling himself ‘Mike’ — walked to a £2 million riverside flat which he rented for a year on London’s Chelsea embankment with £2,500 cash in his pocket to pay the five prostitutes.
The main dominatrix, a blonde referred to as Woman A, had arrived earlier with whips and uniforms including a modern Luftwaffe jacket.
Dressed in her German military uniform, she gave Mr Mosley a ‘judicial’ — which Mr Justice Eady explained in his judgment is a ‘very common form of role-play on the S&M scene’. Mr Mosley’s ‘sentence’ involved him being ordered to undress and given a ‘medical inspection’, including his head being examined for lice.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Eady quoted from the News of the World’s report of what happened, which was headlined ‘F1 Boss Has Sick Nazi Orgy With 5 Hookers’.
It said Mr Mosley lay naked and trussed up in chains as one of the women beat his backside with a cane until he bled.
Mr Mosley’s masochistic punishment over, he then proceeded to take a turn as a sadist. He beat two prostitutes wearing striped prison uniforms, counting out the lashes in German.
But Mr Justice Eady, Britain’s top privacy judge at the time, said it was clear that Mr Mosley ‘threw himself into his role with considerable enthusiasm’ and it was all ‘no doubt interesting to the public’.
But he concluded Mr Mosley’s ‘unconventional’ sex life — which he had indulged in for some 45 years — was not genuinely a matter of public interest. And he ruled that there was no Nazi element to the orgy, as the newspaper had claimed.