FIA reveal ‘significant updates’ to F1 structure ahead of 2023 season

Thomas Maher
FIA flag on display at the F1 Dutch Grand Prix. Netherlands, September 2022. Budget cap Red Bull

The FIA has confirmed a change to its F1 governance structure, which will be in place in time for the start of the 2023 season.

The FIA, governing body of Formula 1, has updated its management structure ahead of the 2023 season, following an increase in investment and resources into the sport from the governing body.

Under President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and FIA Deputy President for Sport Robert Reid, a review of the FIA’s internal procedures has been carried out with a new overall structure being implemented to coincide with the beginning of the 2023 F1 season.

Nikolas Tombazis, who was the FIA’s head of single-seater matters and oversaw the FIA’s technical department which helped bring about the 2022 regulation changes, has been appointed as the FIA’s single-seater director.

Under his remit will be the Sporting, Technical, Financial, and Strategy & Operations Directors.

Who will report to the FIA’s Nikolas Tombazis?

Steve Nielsen, formerly of Formula One Management (FOM) and previously holding senior positions with F1 teams such as Benetton, Renault, Toro Rosso and Williams, will join as Sporting Director.

His responsibilities will include overseeing all F1 sporting matters, including the 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.

Nielsen will also take charge of future updates to the Sporting Regulations.

Replacing Tombazis in the role of overseeing the FIA’s technical department will be Tim Goss, former McLaren technical director who was Tombazis’ deputy.

Federico Lodi, who has been in charge of the FIA’s Financial Regulations team, becomes the FIA’s F1 Financial Director.

Francois Sicard, formerly the FIA’s Sporting Director and previously DAMS managing director, becomes the FIA’s strategy & operations director. His role will be responsible for long-term strategic planning, as well as trackside activities and logistics.

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Mohammed Ben Sulayem welcomes the ’empowerment’ of key personnel

With several existing FIA personnel stepping up to take on the new roles of increased responsibility within F1, FIA boss Mohammed Ben Sulayem said considerable effort has gone into ensuring the right people are in positions of authority to maintain the health of the sport.

“We have dedicated a lot of time and effort to making significant, informed changes to our Formula 1 team to create the right structure with the right people to oversee the future regulation of the sport,” he said.

“By developing and empowering people within our organisation, as well as bringing in expertise and experience from the outside, I am confident that we are in the best position possible to move forward together with our partners at FOM and the Formula 1 teams.”

Nielsen, the FIA’s new sporting director, spoke of his gratitude to the FIA for placing trust in him after 30 years working with various teams before making the switch to the sport’s administration in 2017.

“I have spent my professional life working for many teams and organisations in Formula 1, and cannot wait to engage with another new chapter with the FIA,” he said.

“I’d like to thank both the President and [F1 CEO] Stefano Domenicali for their trust in me, and I understand and appreciate the unique challenges that come with being the regulator.

“Having worked closely with a number of people in the Federation over the years, I’m looking forward to tackling those challenges that lie ahead with them – Formula 1 is in a great place at the moment, and it’s our responsibility to ensure the future health of the sport that is at the heart of everything we do.”