Max Mosley (born April 14, 1940) is the president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile based in Paris, France which also governs Formula One along with other international motorsports. Max Mosley is the son of Sir Oswald Mosley and Diana Mitford.
Sir Oswald Mosley was a Labour minister, and a Member of Parliament for both the Conservative and Labour parties in the 1920s. By the 1930s, he had left mainstream politics and become the leader of the British Union of Fascists (BUF). His first wife died in 1933, and in 1936 Sir Oswald married Diana Mitford, in a ceremony in Germany attended by Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler. Max was born in London early in the Second World War, in April 1940. In May, Sir Oswald, who had campaigned for a negotiated peace with Germany, was interned by the British Authorities under Defence Regulation 18B, along with most other active fascists in Britain. Lady Mosley was imprisoned a month later. Max and his brother Alexander were not included in this internship and as a result were separated from their parents for the first few years of their lives. In December 1940, then prime minister Winston Churchill, who knew Lady Mosley socially, asked Home Secretary Herbert Morrison to ensure Lady Mosley was able to see Max—whom she had christened the Entschlossener (the determined one)—regularly.
Sir Oswald and Lady Mosley were released from detention at HMP Holloway in November 1943, provoking widespread public protests. Their children were refused entry to several schools, due to a combination of their wildness and their parents' reputation, and were initially tutored at home. The family moved to a succession of country houses in England. Mosley's older half-brother Nicholas describes the family, including Sir Oswald’s children from his first marriage, spending the summer of 1945 getting the harvest in and shooting at Crowood Farm. In 1950, the Mosleys bought houses in the Republic of Ireland, and in Orsay, near Paris. The family spent the year moving around Europe, spending the spring in France and the autumn and winter in Ireland, where Mosley was keen on riding and hunting. His aunt Nancy Mitford, in letters to Evelyn Waugh, recalled Sir Oswald and his family cruising the Mediterranean sea on the family yacht. On one such trip they visited Spain and were entertained by Sir Oswald's friend, General Franco.
Initially Mosley was educated in France, then at the age of 13 he was sent to Stein an der Traun in Germany for two years, where he learned to speak fluent German. On his return to England he was educated at Millfield, an independent boarding school in Somerset. He attended Christ Church at Oxford University, graduating with a degree in physics in 1961. During his time there he was Secretary of the Oxford Union. In 1961, Mosley campaigned under the slogan "Free speech for fascists" when his father's invitation to speak at the Union was opposed. Shortly afterwards, Mosley introduced his father to Robert Skidelsky, one of Mosley's contemporaries at the university, who later wrote Sir Oswald's biography. Mosley went on to study law at Gray's Inn in London, specializing in patent and trademark law, and qualified as a barrister in 1964. Northumbria University awarded Mosley an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law in 2005. During the early 1960s, Mosley was also a member of the Territorial Army, training as a parachutist.
Mosley, like many of Formula One's drivers, lives in Monaco. He married Jean Taylor in 1960; they have two children: Alexander (1970-2009) and Patrick (born 1972). In addition to his brother, Mosley has five older half-siblings. On his father's side they are Vivien Mosley, the novelist Nicholas Mosley, 3rd Baron Ravensdale and Michael Mosley. On his mother's side they are the Irish preservationist, Desmond Guinness, and the merchant banker, Jonathan Guinness, 3rd Baron Moyne.
Mosley's 39 year old son Alexander, a restaurateur, was found dead on May 5 2009 at his home in Notting Hill, West London. The Westminster coroner declared at an inquest on 10 June 2009 that he died due to cocaine intoxication.
From their teens to early twenties, Mosley and his brother were involved with their father's post-war party, the Union Movement (UM), which advocated a united Europe as its core issue. Trevor Grundy, a central figure in the UM's Youth Movement, writes of the 16-year-old Mosley painting the flash and circle symbol on walls in London on the night of the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary(4 November 1956). The flash and circle was used by both the UM and the pre-war BUF. He also says Mosley organized a couple of large parties as a way "to get in with lively, ordinary, normal young people, girls as well as boys, and attract them to the Movement by showing that we were like them and didn't go on about Hitler and Mussolini, Franco and British Fascism all the time. Mosley met his future wife Jean at such a party. Mosley and Alexander were photographed posing as Teddy Boys in Notting Hill during the 1958 race riots between Afro-Caribbeans and local white gangs of Teddy Boys. The following year, they canvassed for their father when he ran as a Union Movement candidate for the nearby Kensington North seat in the 1959 General Election. Sir Oswald used in-fluxed immigration as a platform during the campaign, which was run largely on anti-immigration issues.
Mosley was later an election agent for the Union Movement, supporting Walter Hesketh as parliamentary candidate for Moss Side in 1962. The motor racing journalist Alan Henry describes him as one of his father's "right-hand men" at the time of a violent incident in 1962, in which Sir Oswald was knocked down by a mob in London and saved from serious injury by his son's intervention. As a result of his involvement in this fracas, Mosley was arrested and charged with threatening behaviour. He was later cleared at Old Street Magistrates' Court on the grounds that he was trying to protect his father. In 1964, Mosley himself was a prospective UM candidate.
In the early 1980s, Mosley attempted a political career, working for the UK Conservative Party and hoping to become a parliamentary candidate. Bernie Ecclestone's biographer, Terry Lovell, writes that he gave up this aspiration after being unimpressed by "the calibre of senior party officials". He also felt his name would be a handicap and has since said "If I had a completely open choice in my life, I would have chosen party politics, but because of my name, that's impossible".
At the start of 2008, Mosley said that he wanted to see through reforms such as budget capping and new technologies like KERS successfully introduced into Formula One before retiring. In March of that year the News of the World, a British tabloid newspaper, released video footage of Mosley engaged in sado-masochistic sexual acts with five sex workers in a scenario that the paper said involved "National socialist role-playing". Mosley admitted "the embarrassment the revelations caused", but said that there was no National socialist theme involved. He was strongly criticized by former drivers, motor manufacturers and several of the national motoring bodies who form the FIA. His involvement in several high level motor sport events was cancelled. Public expressions of support were limited. Mosley says that he received much supportive correspondence, and said that he would continue to the end of his current term, which he said would be his last. Mosley's long time ally Ecclestone eventually appeared to support Mosley's removal.