FIA launch new scheme in bid to develop future race directors

Jamie Woodhouse
An FIA scrutineering point. Barcelona February 2022.

An FIA scrutineering point. Barcelona February 2022.

The FIA will look to increase its collection of stewards and race directors via the FIA High Performance Programme for Officials.

Especially in the world of Formula 1, the role of race director and steward has not made those personnel the most popular of folk around the paddock in recent years.

The issue stems from Michael Masi’s controversial handling of the 2021 title decider in Abu Dhabi, with the approach, after his axing, of two people sharing the race director role not proving to be wildly popular.

For 2023 it is expected that Niels Wittich will continue in that race director role.

There has also been a number of complaints about the decision-making of the stewards since then, McLaren’s Lando Norris at the backend of the 2022 campaign claiming that the F1 stewards show a limited understanding of a driver’s perspective when judging incidents.

The FIA had stated its intention to expand the pool of race directors and stewards available, which the governing body will look to achieve through its FIA High Performance Programme for Officials.

The first edition of this initiative is now underway in Geneva, held from February 17-19, and involved 24 trainees, comprising eight stewards and 16 race directors.

From there, trainees will continue their development by shadowing senior FIA officials at various motor sport events.

The FIA Race Directors Seminar and International Stewards Programme will also undergo format changes in the form of webinars running throughout the year, rather than the previous two-day event, in order to provide greater access to training and allowing for quicker reactions to changing needs in motorsport as the year progresses.

It was also announced by the FIA that training initiatives will be extended down to regional level to create a pathway for personnel to step up to international standing.

FIA deputy president for sport Robert Reid said: “By investing in training, we invest in the future and ensure that the new generation of officials is developed according to a universal set of high standards and best practices.

“The role of the FIA as the governing body of world motorsport is to make our knowledge and expertise available to our Member Clubs and the FIA High Performance Programme embodies this approach perfectly, through the development of officials at regional level and creating a career path that can lead them to the very top of motorsport regardless of their country of origin and professional background.” recommends

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FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem recently announced that he would be stepping back from his day-to-day duties overseeing Formula 1.

It was a move which was always a part of his manifesto for FIA presidency, but did come after several clashes with the series – his claim that a supposed $20 billion F1 takeover bid from Saudi Arabia’s PIF, represented an “inflated” value, not sitting well with F1’s owner Liberty Media.