Ex-McLaren boss to head FIA Safety Commission

Jamie Woodhouse
Former McLaren sporting director Sam Michael. Abu Dhabi, November 2014.

Sam Michael, McLaren’s former sporting director, has replaced Sir Patrick Head as president of the FIA’s Safety Commission.

As reported by Motorsport.com, Michael will take over the reins at the head of the FIA’s safety department, which works to improve the equipment used across all four-wheel motor sport categories as well as investigating and analysing accidents in a bid to improve safety.

Michael boasts an extensive career in Formula 1, having worked with the likes of Lotus, Williams and McLaren.

Starting out as a Lotus engineer in 1993, Michael then moved on to Jordan and later Williams, moving up through the ranks to become technical director before switching to McLaren to assume the sporting director position, leaving in 2014.

Michael is not new to the world of safety in motor sport, having become an advisor to the FIA’s Research Working Group in 2017, which reviews safety devices as part of a wider-reaching job description.

The year prior, he had become a director of the Australian Institute for Motor Sport Safety.

A view of the paddock in Saudi Arabia. December 2021.

Michael now steps up to the top position in the FIA Safety Commission, one of many appointments to come from the first World Motor Sport Council meeting to have taken place under the direction of new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Ex-Ferrari driver Felipe Massa is among those receiving a change of scenery, departing the president’s role for the CIK International Karting Commission to become president of the FIA Drivers’ Commission.


The FIA are also busy putting together their report into the controversial 2021 Formula 1 title decider in Abu Dhabi.

The findings are expected to be made public on March 18, the opening day of practice for the 2022 season-opener in Bahrain.

Further structural changes within the FIA are also planned, with Ben Sulayem on the hunt for a CEO to head up “a new and robust governance process” in motor sport.