Mosley took own life after terminal cancer diagnosis

Jon Wilde
Close-up of Max Mosley. Monza September 2009.

Max Mosley, the former FIA president, took his own life after being given a terminal cancer diagnosis, an inquest has heard.

At the age of 81, Mosley shot himself at his London home in May 2021 after learning he only had weeks to live – a “very limited life expectancy” – and was in “debilitating” pain, Westminster Coroner’s Court heard.

Evidence at the inquest revealed Mosley, who was FIA president for 16 years from 1993 to 2009, had contacted his personal assistant the night before he was found dead to inform him of his decision to kill himself.

Mosley could not be persuaded and had formed a “settled intent”, the court heard.

He was then said to have had a last meal with his wife and written a suicide note that was found the following day.

Senior Coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox recorded a conclusion of suicide, saying she was “satisfied” Mosley intended to kill himself.

She added: “I am also entirely satisfied Mr Mosley would not have undertaken this action but for the distressing and debilitating terminal lymphoma.”

The court heard how Mosley had developed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a cancer affecting immune cells, in 2019 and “explored all treatment options”.

However, despite the efforts of doctors, none were successful and he had been moved to palliative care.

Dr Wilcox recorded a cause of death as a gunshot wound, adding the cancer had been a contributing factor.

Concluding the hearing, she said Mosley was a “remarkable man” and added: “I would like to pass my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Mosley. I wish you all well.”

The inquest also heard from Mosley’s relatives that he felt his biggest achievement as president of the FIA had been “the promotion of road safety” and “green technology in F1”.

Mosley was a founder and co-owner of the March team and became their representative at the Formula One Constructors’ Association (FOCA).

He then, along with Bernie Ecclestone, went on to represent FOCA in their dealings with the FIA and race organisers.

An amateur racing driver who competed in a single F1 non-championship race in 1969, the Madrid Grand Prix from which he retired in a Lotus 59, Mosley was a negotiator of the first Concorde Agreement.

The year after he became president of the FIA, Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger were killed during the weekend of the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. Mosley was praised for being an exception among the motorsport hierarchy in that he decided to attend Ratzenberger’s lower-key funeral rather than Senna’s.