May 23 (GMM) The F1 press smelled a rat on Thursday afternoon, when figures in the official FIA press conference were asked to comment on Max Mosley's presence at Monaco.
It is suspected that Richard Woods, the FIA official who has been at the side of the beleaguered president throughout his swift movements in the paddock so far this weekend, specifically reminded press conference moderator Bob Constanduros to put the question.
Another suspicious element were the selected figures on Thursday's press conference panel: representatives for Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams - all of whom have contractually sided with the FIA for the future - and Force India's Vijay Mallya, also chief of India's motor racing bodies.
Personal friend Gerhard Berger, meanwhile - who is known to have gone on skiing trips with Mosley in the past - was the first to comment on the sex scandal.
"I think it's an entirely private thing. It's something that has happened with grown-up people, nothing which is against the law and I have to say I'm very surprised how many angels there are around in formula one," he said.
"Suddenly everyone seems to be very clean and very nice," the Austrian, a former grand prix winner, added.
"But to connect this to the job of Max Mosley, as an FIA president, I don't think is right. I've been in formula one a long time now. I think there are very few people ? maybe nobody ? who has had such an impact on safety for motor sport as Max."
Berger went on to detail Mosley's admirable reaction to the 1994 Imola fatalities, and the improvements to circuit, car, and even road car safety.
"I think it's not fair to see it through the glasses as some people have tried to see it at the moment. I think it should be totally decided by the automobile clubs and by himself, how the future of the FIA goes, but it should not be run by newspapers or us," he added.
"I just know one thing: the sport needs a strong guy, a competitive guy, a strong guy who understands the business, and we definitely have this with Max and hopefully we will have in the future. That's all I want to say."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed that Mosley has "done many, many good things".