‘Do not listen to the noise’ – How F1 v FIA battle overlooks the bigger success story

Sam Cooper
Stefano Domenicali and Mohammed Ben Sulayem

Stefano Domenicali and Mohammed Ben Sulayem head up their respective parties.

The GPDA chairman Alexander Wurz has urged FOM and the FIA to ignore the “noise” following increased tensions between the two parties.

A strained relationship between the FIA and the sport’s commercial rights holders Formula One Management (FOM) is nothing new but since Mohammed Ben Sulayem became president, the temperature appears to have been turned up a notch.

But Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) chairman Wurz has suggested the sport is doing far more right than it is wrong.

GPDA chairman urges for calm between FIA and FOM

The most recent clash came over FOM’s rejection of Andretti’s F1 entry, which the FIA had green lit, but it is not the only time the two most powerful parties have not seen eye to eye.

Last year, Ben Sulayem suggested a $20 billion bid for FOM was inflated, landing him an angry letter from FOM owners Liberty Media, as well as sexist comments that were attributed to him on an old version of his personal website.

As such, Ben Sulayem took a step back from F1 but the FIA was once again in the headlines when they opened an investigation into the professional relationship between Toto Wolff and wife and F1 Academy director Susie. It lasted all of two days and has drawn the FIA the ire of Mercedes.

Wurz acts as a representative of the drivers and while he has not noticed any tension in his role, he has said the responsibilities of the two parties are already clearly defined.

“In my role with the GPDA I am not coming across any such tension,” he exclusively told PlanetF1.com. “But regardless, it is important for all involved that we act in the best way for the sport and its future.

“Difference in opinions can be fine, and perhaps even a productive thing, as long as we talk to each other and respect each other.

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“Ultimately the FIA is the regulator and governing body, and FOM owns the commercial rights, I would think that the roles and lines don’t need to be redrawn and the grey areas in between need dialogue and respect to progress the sport.”

Wurz went on to say that there is always a talking point in the sport but that the leaders should “not listen to the noise” and instead focus on what F1 is doing well.

“There is always something people are talking about in our sport, especially right now we see so many debates but the sport is in a great position.

“It is important, as said above, that we push together. The FIA, the teams, F1, the promoters and the drivers. So let’s not listen to the noise, let’s focus on the sport.”

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