FIA seeking a CEO in bid to improve governance

Jon Wilde
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem speaks. Saudi Arabia, January 2022.

New FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is seeking a CEO to head up “a new and robust governance process” in motorsport.

No prizes for guessing why Ben Sulayem thinks that is necessary, of course, following the hugely controversial end to the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Ben Sulayem took over from Jean Todt at the very top of the FIA only days after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, at which Max Verstappen snatched the World Championship from Lewis Hamilton’s grasp in a climax that put race director Michael Masi at the centre of attention.

Masi’s management of those closing stages of the race, regarding a late Safety Car period, was called into question with Mercedes livid at the way Hamilton lost the title.

Consequently, the FIA announced a full investigation would be held and the findings presented at the F1 Commission meeting on February 14, then approved for public consumption at the World Motor Sport Council meeting on March 18 in Bahrain.

The World Motor Sport Council was also chaired by Ben Sulayem this week and among the upshots was a decision to undertake “the launch of a new and robust governance process, including a fully independent financial audit of the FIA and the recruitment of an FIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO)”.

In the announcement of that move by the FIA, Ben Sulayem said: “A new era has begun for the FIA, through the creation of a governance framework founded on openness and global diversity.

“This is a key pillar of our strategy and I warmly thank the World Councils’ Members, who have approved the changes.

“Responsibility and authority of World Councils, which emanate from our Members, will be increased.

“A more effective oversight model will be designed, stakeholders’ priorities will be aligned and a responsibly profitable FIA operation will be ensured.

“To reach these objectives, the Federation’s governing bodies and administration will work closely together to make the FIA the global voice of motor sport and mobility.”

 

The length of the process being undertaken to fully investigate what happened during those contentious few minutes in Abu Dhabi is reported to be a reason why Hamilton has remained silent publicly since a short interview in parc ferme after the race.

However, his reticence is likely to be symbolic of his, and Mercedes’, disgust at what unfolded rather than an indication that he is truly considering his future in F1, especially as the start of the 2022 campaign draws ever closer.

 

FIA needs to show that it has taken action

Zak Brown believes that the FIA must show the action they have taken after Abu Dhabi.