From Silverstone to Downtown Delhi: Max Mosley’s Contribution to Car Safety

As former President of the FIA, Max Mosley’s biggest legacy is the vast improvement in car safety. Max founded the Advisory Expert Group in 1994 following the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger. The organisation revolutionised motor racing safety with innovations such as the HANS device and the implementation of rigorous crash-testing.

Max’s interest in car safety spread beyond the racetrack soon after his inauguration as FIA President. In 1994, Max was elected Honorary President of the European Parliament Automobile User’s Intergroup, a body which was instrumental in persuading EU parliament to adopt new crash-testing laws, improving road safety for drivers all across Europe. Max initiated the award-winning European New Car Assessment Programme in 1996. This independent crash-test organisation was credited by the European Commission as being the most cost-effective public initiative in two decades, advancing road safety within Europe by five years.

In 2002, Max Mosley founded the FIA Foundation, a registered UK charity which allocates some €10 million annually to road and motor sport safety worldwide. The foundation recently pledged $1.5 million to the World Health Organisation to fund a joint road safety project in developing countries.

In 2011, Max was elected chairman of Global NCAP, a body established to co-ordinate crash-testing worldwide. In 2014, as part of the #SaferCarsforIndia campaign, Global NCAP called for the withdrawal from sale of Nissan’s Datsun Go from India’s car market, following a zero-star crash-safety rating. As the world’s fifth-largest passenger car producer, India is being urged by Global NCAP to adopt internationally accepted crash-test safety standards.

In 2006, Max Mosley was awarded the Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, the highest French decoration. Presenting the award, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy commended Mr Mosley for his commitment to promoting road safety, which includes his former chairmanship of Euro NCAP, as well as for his role in establishing the FIA Foundation to champion the cause of safer roads worldwide, saying:

The French Sports Minister Jean-François Lamour was also present at the ceremony which was held in the French Foreign Ministry at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris with Mr Mosley’s family, friends and colleagues from the automotive industry and the world of motor sport.

Douste-Blazy praised Mosley’s commitment to the environment; initiatives such as the carbon sequestration forestry project set up by Max in Mexico, where trees were planted to compensate for CO2 emissions created by Formula 1 and World Rally Championships, rendering them environmentally neutral and touched upon Max’s personal achievements: his racing days; calling to the bar; his stint with the Parachute Regiment. Nevertheless, it is through his pragmatism, initiative and innovation in the realms of car safety improvement that Max has made his greatest contribution, both in Formula 1 and on public highways worldwide.