Senior FIA official quits in shock governing body split after less than a year

Thomas Maher
Steve Nielsen walks through the paddock at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Steve Nielsen has tendered his resignation from the FIA after less than a year in the role of sporting director.

A senior official high within the FIA’s organisational structure has departed his position after less than a year, according to the BBC.

FIA sporting director Steve Nielsen has departed from his role at the F1 governing body, less than one year after taking up the position, according to a report from the BBC.

In January 2023, Nielsen was appointed to oversee all F1 sporting matters on behalf of the FIA, including ongoing development of Race Control and the Remote Operations Centre as implemented as part of the fall-out from the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.

Steve Nielsen tenders his resignation

According to the BBC’s report, Nielsen tendered his resignation from the FIA earlier this week – no reason has been given for his departure from the governing body.

The FIA is yet to respond to a request for comment from

Nielsen joined the FIA from Formula One Management (FOM) and previously held senior positions with F1 teams such as Benetton, Renault, Toro Rosso, and Williams.

With President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Deputy President for Sport Robert Reid reviewing the FIA’s internal procedures over the last two years, a new overall structure was put in place for 2023 – Nielsen playing a key role in that organisational structure.

According to the report, sources indicated he was unhappy with ‘several parts’ of his role, with the FIA ‘not willing to make changes’ he felt were necessary to improve race control operations.

Nielsen’s appointment was seen as a positive when he was announced, with McLaren CEO saying: “Steve is immensely respected, very well known, and has a relationship with everyone in the pit lane.

“In roles like that, do they have the technical skillset? Yes. Do they have the credibility and relationships? Yes. So he ticks the boxes where I don’t think a single team will be questioning the decision and the rationale.” recommends

FIA explained: What does it stand for and how does it govern F1?

Explained: How the FIA develops potential new F1 rules and regulations

It has been a difficult month for the FIA, which found itself at the centre of a furore involving Mercedes, after the governing body announced it was launching a compliance investigation into an unnamed team boss and a FOM employee.

The investigation was promptly called off two days later, following a massive outcry that included statements firmly rejecting the FIA’s assertions – including FOM itself.

Mercedes are currently investigating their legal options following the controversy.


Read Next: The brilliant story behind Adrian Newey’s ‘one and only’ F1 interview