Max Mosley, the previous president of the International Automobile Federation, who solid a profession that helped him emerge from the shadow of his notoriously fascist British mother and father however who grew to become ensnared in authorized battles later in life over a secretly recorded intercourse video, died on Monday. He was 81.
His demise was confirmed by his household, who mentioned in an announcement that he had died after a “long battle with cancer.”
Mr. Mosley was president of the F.I.A. from 1993 to 2009. During his tenure, he advocated security reforms in a sport that was typically tormented by questions of safety.
Shortly after he grew to become president of the F.I.A., the deaths of two drivers through the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix offered urgency to that effort, and in 1996, he led a profitable marketing campaign to strengthen crash check requirements within the European Union.
The F.I.A., or Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, mentioned in an announcement on Monday that Mr. Mosley’s work as its president left “an indelible mark on the world of motor sport and mobility.”
Jean Todt, who succeeded Mr. Mosley as president of motor racing’s governing physique, mentioned in an announcement that his predecessor was “a major figure in Formula 1 and motor sport,” including that as president of the group, Mr. Mosley “strongly contributed to reinforcing safety on track and on the roads.”
Mr. Mosley was born in London on April 13, 1940, to Oswald Mosley, a British politician who based the British Union of Fascists, and Diana Mitford, a socialite who was associates with Adolf Hitler. The couple have been imprisoned throughout World War II for his or her affiliation with Hitler — who was a visitor at their marriage ceremony — and Nazi Germany.
When he was launched to motor racing, Mr. Mosley discovered “a whole new world,” he wrote in “Formula One and Beyond,” his 2015 autobiography.
“It was the first time I felt that whatever interest there might be was about me rather than my family,” he wrote. “If I could do something in motor racing, my antecedents would probably not come into it.”
Mr. Mosley raced briefly, however after realizing he didn’t have the expertise to turn into the most effective competitor, he grew to become a racing carmaker and workforce proprietor earlier than beginning his ascent within the administration and politics of the game.
As a child, Mr. Mosley was surrounded by wealth and notable figures, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. But he grew close with Bernie Ecclestone, the son of a fisherman who would become chief executive of the Formula One Group, as the two endeavored to bolster the sport of motor racing.
“We came from different sorts of upbringings, but we just got on well together,” Mr. Ecclestone said in an interview on Monday. He noted Mr. Mosley’s advocacy in vehicle safety, adding that “he wanted to make sure the public at large had cars that were built properly, were not dangerous, were not fragile.”
But Mr. Mosley’s legacy as a reformer in the world of motor racing was overshadowed in 2008 when a now-defunct British tabloid, The News of the World, posted a video online of Mr. Mosley involved in what it described as “a depraved Nazi sadomasochistic orgy.”
The video, which was later removed from the internet, showed him counting in German and yelling in German-accented English. He acknowledged participating in the session, but denied that the role-playing was Nazi-themed.
A British court ruled in July 2008 that The News of the World had breached Mr. Mosley’s privacy and awarded him damages equivalent to about $120,000. The judge ruled that there was “no evidence” that the gathering was “an enactment of Nazi behavior or adoption of any of its attitudes.”
Mr. Mosley said at the time that while the video was “totally devastating” to his wife, Jean, and his two sons, Alexander and Patrick, the ruling was also devastating for The News of the World. “It demonstrates that their Nazi lie was completely invented and had no justification,” he said.
Mr. Mosley was preceded in death by his son Alexander, who died in 2009. Information about survivors was not immediately available.
In 2013, a court in Paris, the Tribunal de Grande Instance, granted a petition by Mr. Mosley asking the court to order Google to remove photos and videos of the episode that had continued to circulate on the internet from its search results.
Mr. Ecclestone said he regretted not supporting Mr. Mosley when he “had his bloody problems,” referring to the scandal.
“Max was a very genuine, straightforward guy,” Mr. Ecclestone said. “He was very firm in that way.”
Ian Parkes contributed reporting.