The FIA has replaced one of its most important officials in Formula 1 with a former Mercedes employee. On Wednesday, the FIA announced that Austrian Peter Bayer will vacate his previous functions and his duties will be taken over by the British woman Shaila-Ann Rao on an interim basis for the time being. Rao had been Wolff’s legal advisor at Mercedes.
Bayer had been FIA secretary general for the sport since 2017 and also served as the federation’s Formula One executive director since 2021, making him the FIA’s highest-ranking operational official at Formula One Grands Prix in the absence of the FIA president.
His importance is also underlined by the fact that Bayer was the first person Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff called after the controversial 2021 World Championship finale in Abu Dhabi. At least that’s what Wolff told a press conference shortly after Abu Dhabi.
Bayer’s successor Rao was already Legal Director within the FIA from mid-2016 to the end of 2018. She then moved to the Mercedes team for three and a half years, where she was most recently chief legal advisor and personal advisor to Wolff.