Former FIA president Max Mosley dies aged 81

Former president of the FIA Max Mosley has died at the age of 81. Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Max Mosley, the former president of motor racing's governing body, the FIA, has died aged 81.

Mosley headed up the FIA between 1993 and 2009 and played a pivotal role in pioneering improvements in safety standards after the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

The son of controversial British politician Oswald Mosley, founder of the British Union of Fascists, and Diana Mitford, he said he chose a career in motor racing because no-one cared who his father was.

On Monday, an F1 spokesperson said: "We are saddened to hear that Max Mosley former FIA President has passed away. A huge figure in the transition of Formula One. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time."

Mosley had a brief career as a racing driver and took part in the Formula 2 race where Jim Clark was killed at Hockenheim in 1968.

In the 1960s he founded the March Engineering team. He went on to deal with legal matters for F1 teams as advisor to the Formula One Constructors' Association (FOCA) in the late 1970s.

At FOCA he worked alongside Bernie Ecclestone, who would go on to become head of F1. Mosley and Ecclestone would work closely together for decades.

Mosley was also instrumental in drawing up the first version of the Concorde Agreement, the basis of which still exists today and contractually binds F1 teams to the championships.

He stepped down as president of the FIA in 2009.

Mosley always maintained the decision was unrelated to a sting into his sex life by British tabloid newspaper News of the World in 2008. In the years which followed he became an ardent campaigner for stronger celebrity privacy laws.