The FIA under the new leadership of Mohammed Ben Sulayem is in crisis. He allegedly refused the teams agreed position on increasing the number of Sprint race weekends to 6 on Tuesday. Now he has his key F1 race directors Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas possibly unavailable for the inaugural Miami GP in just over a week.
Both have tested positive for Covid and were they to be in isolation for a similar period to Sebastian Vettel who missed the first two race weekends of the season, they will be unable to officiate in the United States in two weeks time.
The operational activates required to run an F1 race are complex and it is nigh on impossible to parachute in another official without experience of running an F1 weekend.
A source this evening told ‘The Mail’, “The FIA are totally lost what to do”, adding, “’Drivers’ lives are on the line and they don’t seem to have a structure in place for the possibility that neither official is negative in time to fly.”
In realistic terms there is only one solution. To recall Michael Massi.
It is imperative the race weekend is managed by someone who understands how the marshals, emergency services, safety car procedures and a whole host of technical issues should be performed.
Clearly this would be a red rag to a bull for Mercedes AMG F1 and Lewis Hamilton, but at present the FIA have no backup plan and it appears the most expedient solution.
After high hopes new FIA president, Ben Sulayem, would usher in a new era for the FIA, where greater competence would be evident – this lack of preparation is a very poor start.